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Festival to salute area businesses.

MITCHELL — It may have taken 68 years, but Mitchell’s businesses will finally be honored as a part of the Persimmon Festival.

As chairwoman of the 68th annual Persimmon Festival, Christina Lambton decided to dedicate her festival to the businesses that have long supported the small community. This year’s theme is “Shop Local, Buy Mitchell.”

“I wanted to salute our local businesses because, in a small town, our local businesses are vital,” Lambton said. “They sponsor sports teams, support our fundraisers, employ our people, and they’re your friends and neighbors.”

The theme doesn’t single out small businesses or locally owned businesses because, as Lambton points out, Lehigh Cement Co. is as important to Mitchell as Holmes Hardware.

“It’s a theme that I don’t think, from looking through the past themes in the festival booklet, has ever been done,” Lambton said. Past festival themes have saluted veterans and the military, education, youth, volunteers, the city’s heritage and the space program, but it appears none solely focused on the Mitchell businesses that have been instrumental in making the festival a success, Lambton noted.

“Look at Holmes Hardware, for one,” Lambton said. “It was started in 1887 and has been operated continuously by the same family since that time. I don’t think it’s possible to count how many Little League teams, fundraisers or other community projects Holmes Hardware, and the dozens of others like it, have supported throughout the years.”

Lambton is still undecided as to how the theme will be represented in terms of the grand marshals of the parade, but believes she’ll probably ask a sampling of business people to serve in that capacity.

The festival

This year’s festival will be Sept. 20-27 with the Main Street activities kicking off Sept. 22. Assisting Lambton with the festival this year are two co-chairmen, Teresa Reynolds and Henry Shetler. Gary Rayhill will again serve as the parade chairman.

“I’m really looking forward to working with Teresa and Gary again, and with Henry, who is our newest festival co-chairman,” Lambton said.

Already, the schedule is set for the festival, which always takes place during the last full week of September. Annual favorites, such as the Wray Bros., Building Nations and the Endless Summer Band, will again perform. This year, Jake Dodds & Stagecoach Revolver, a modern country band out of Bloomington, will take the stage Wednesday night. On Saturday night, Rusty Bladen will perform for visitors.

Article courtesy of the Times-Mail.

Persimmon Festival to be smoke-free

Persimmon Festival to be smoke-free

Designated areas will be established



April 2, 2013 MITCHELL — Smokers and other tobacco users will be relegated to designated smoking areas come September when the Persimmon Festival sets up in Mitchell. Discussion on the ordinance was varied during Monday’s regular council meeting. Council member Joey Slone said he talked to about 30 people, with only five of them in favor of the ban. Nancy Miller, another council member, said she received a phone call earlier Monday. The caller told her Mitchell was again “the laughing stock” if it passed the ban, and vendors would lose money if the rule was implemented. Councilman Everett Ferrel worried about enforcement. Matt England, another council member, replied by saying, “It will be a work in progress.” Council member Vicky Schlegel compared it to speeding. “It’s against the law, but people still speed.” Schlegel continued, “If you follow state law, there is actually very little space where you can smoke legally downtown as it stands now. Mitchell should be very proud of the Persimmon Festival. It takes a lot of work, with a lot of commitment and dedication by good people. Yet, people refer to it as the ‘Dirt Fest,’ and that’s sad. … I think this ban is a good step in the right direction of making the festival family-friendly.” Schlegel pointed out that, once upon a time, smoking was the norm, noting you could once smoke in hospitals, doctor’s offices and on planes. “We think that’s absurd today,” she said. The issue was originally brought forth to the council during its March meeting. Members tabled the idea then to allow for public input and for city attorney Byron Steele to draw up the law. Steele presented the ordinance, which states, “The Persimmon Festival shall be tobacco free. No person shall use tobacco products of any kind in any manner anywhere within the area where the Persimmon Festival is being conducted, except in such area or areas as may be designated ‘smoking area’ by the Persimmon Festival committee.” The fine, upon conviction, is $100 plus court costs. The ordinance passed, after council members suspended the rules of order, on a 4-1 vote. Slone voted against the measure. Mitchell Mayor Gary Pruett praised the city council for making the decision. A former smoker, he said he empathized with those who smoke, but he said now is the time for Mitchell to take a positive step forward to protect public health. “I don’t expect every person in town to stop smoking because of this, nor do I expect them to quit coming if it goes non-smoking,” Pruett said. “Smoking was once the norm, but we have learned a painful, hard lesson in what this costs us in term of the quality of life. “This ban will anger people, but I don’t think we’ll be the laughing stock. Quite the opposite, actually, because I think we’re taking the lead on an important issue aimed at protecting public health. “People have looked at Mitchell has a backwards community for far too long, … in part because of some practices we’ve refused to change, just like this issue. It’s just seven days a year. Wherein lies the harm for having fresh air for seven days?” The Persimmon Festival, sponsored by the Greater Mitchell Chamber of Commerce and organized by volunteers, is conducted the final full week of each September.


Contact Times-Mail Staff Writer Krystal Shetler at 277-7264 or by email at