(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
The Manila Kiwanis Club will host it first Wings Over the Cotton Festival on Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Manila Airport Community Center. The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., rain or shine.
A festival beauty pageant will be held at 6 p.m. Friday for girls 0-12 years. The pageant will be held at the Manila Airport Center.
Festival activities will include an old-fashioned kids' cotton picking contest starting at 10 a.m., a youth duck calling contest from 2-4 p.m., games, booths, prizes, horseback rides, dunking booth, and laser shooting booth.
Raffles will be held for a shotgun and homemade quilt and silent auction of duck calls.
Entertainment will include the Crowley's Ridge Cloggers, Divine Praise Team, River City Review Band, and First Baptist Church Puppet Team. A duck calling seminar will be held from 4:30 to 5:30 by White Eagle Game Calls.
"Kiwanis members have worked hard planning the festival but it would not be possible without the community support, merchants, individuals, and the city of Manila," President Roy Brymer said. "We appreciate everyone who has helped us make the festival a reality."
Outgoing President Jeremy Bennett said the festival is a way to introduce young people to the area's agriculture heritage and water fowling traditions.
"The Kiwanis Club is about community service with an emphasis on the kids," Bennett said. "We spent most of the first year trying to get ourselves organized and now we are ready to be there for the kids."
The newly formed Kiwanis has a lot of plans for the upcoming year. They have already completed the first of four scheduled highway clean-up projects.
"We are hoping the festival will help us start a scholarship fund," Brymer said. "We have plans to start a Key Club. A Key Club is a group of young high school adults. We have a school sponsor. It is a great way to work with the area young people to instill service and leadership qualities."
Brymer and Bennett expressed their appreciation to the Manila School District.
"We are working hand in hand with the school and we appreciate their support," Brymer said.
A "lunch buddy" program has started. Kiwanis members will be partnered with students and will join them occasionally for lunch at school.
"This is a mentoring program and we hope a Big Brother type program will develop from it," Bennett said.
The club is also starting a BUG (Bring Up Grades) recognition program for elementary students.
"This is our first festival and we hope to build on it and make it an annual event," Brymer said. "We hope to see people from all over the area for a great day of family fun, food, and entertainment."