Flywheel draws large crowd
Annual event attendance booming
By Lisa Voyles
HOUSTON – It may have been the weather; beautiful blue skies and light winds. Or it may have been economic factors that are keeping people closer to home. Whatever the reason, the 2009 Spring Flywheel drew crowds of locals and visitors to town last weekend to view the antique engines and tractors and enjoy the Arts and Crafts festival and food vendors in Joe Brigance Park.
amp”We’ve had a great crowd,amp” said Joyce East of the Chickasaw Development Foundation. amp”They are having lots more entries in the tractor pull than last year.amp”
Sarah Taylor said the annual event had picked up steam from previous years.
amp”We’re going to have a big tractor pull,amp” Taylor said. amp”This year we’ve really had a big crowd.amp”
The festivities kicked off Friday and continued Saturday with live entertainment, demonstrations, tractors, engines and vendors of merchandise and food. Many of the tractor and engine entries make a circuit of flywheel shows and include the Houston festival as an essential stop.
amp”I’ve been to Mantachie and I’ll go to the show in Laurel and Lawrenceburg,amp” said Tim Gillespie of Blue Springs. Gillespie is the Chairman of the tractor pull competition and is an annual participant in the Flywheel Festival in Houston.
Bobby McGowen has a long history with the festival in Houston.
amp”I’ve been coming here since the very first one,amp” McGowen said. amp”Wouldn’t miss it.amp”
Since last fall’s event, Joe Brigance Park has seen some changes as the walking trail around the park was paved earlier this year. Plans were made prior to the paving project to allow crossing points for the tractors to enter the field for showing and the restricted access didn’t seem to be a problem as rows and rows of tractors filled the park field.
McGowan shows flywheel engines and said the paved track was an asset to the show.
amp”It doesn’t bother me a bit,amp” McGowan said. amp”It’s a lot better than the red dirt was when it rained. And the handicapped folks can get around better on their scooters and get out and come.amp”
McGowan said that one change diappointed him.
amp”The school kids used to come out on Friday and we would explain to them about the engines,amp” McGowan said. amp”They didn’t come this year or last year and we missed them. We hope they’ll come back.amp”
Planning for the fall
With the close of a successful Spring Flywheel Festival, plans are already in the works for the fall event. The Fall Flywheel Festival will be held the third weekend of September in the park in Houston. Although the fall show is traditionally smaller than the spring show, the crowds that filled the park last weekend give organizers hope that the fall show may grow as well.