The 22nd annual Christmas in Kennard started well before December 10. People were planning and organizing months earlier. The event could not have happened without the efforts of Mike and Judy Curry, Donell Copaus, and Tracy Copaus. And, of course, the annual Husqvarna lawnmower raffle sponsored by Mike and Judy Curry of Curry’s Grocery. Gary Hendry was the lucky winner this year.
The festivities started a few weeks earlier with every elementary student at Kennard ISD making ornaments to decorate the tree. Thanks go to all the elementary teachers that volunteered their classroom time and supplies for the children to make the ornaments and to the GT Group for putting them on the tree. It made the tree special for every child and parent because of the love and time that went into decorating it.
Friday night started the fun. The house lighting judges gathered at Curry’s Grocery with pizza and a stack of purple entry sheets. They set out with a van full of giddy kids – old and young! There were over 50 houses in the area decked out for the season and the judges had difficulty because every house was extraordinary. The first place trophy went to Kevin and Amy Crawford; second place was john and Dianna Dyess; third place was Paul and Sherry Morgan; Most Lights was Donald and Barbara Lamb; Most Animated was Walt and Cyndi Wilson; Best Theme was Mike and Janet Morgan; and Consolation was Jim and Beverly Godwin. Thanks to everyone who participated in the house lighting contest!
Saturday dawned cold and gorgeous with the wind blowing pine straw, which illustrated what a small town Christmas in the pines is all about – community and fellowship. It was a perfect day for bundling up and strolling through downtown Kennard. There were over 20 vendors with a variety of items including antiques, Tupperware, Avon, poinsettias, wreaths, fishing supplies, decorations for the house, homemade candles, and – my favorite – jelly. Plus the food! You could tickle your taste buds with gumbo, brisket, sausage, turkey legs, crispy corn on the cob, fudge, or homemade peanut brittle.
A little before six the parade entries lined up in Truman Lamb Senior’s pasture. At six they set out down highway 7, through Kennard, ending up at the Christmas tree. There were 36 parade entries with the trophy for smallest entry going to Colton Richey on a go-cart. Best Christmas Theme went to the Forest Service out of Ratcliff; Best Country Theme went to the Hagerville Group; Most Beautiful went to Kennard PTF; Largest Entry/Float went to Kennard/Ratcliff Volunteer Fire Department; Most Lights went to Calhoun Christmas in the Pines; most Creative went to Simpson Chapel Church; Most Lively went to Certerville High School Cheerleaders; Most School Spirit went to Kennard ISD Cheerleaders; Most Group Spirit went to Central ISD Drill Team; Most Spiritual went to New Hope Church; Best Equestrian/Animal Entry went to Truly God’s Country Church. The parade drew to a close with Santa and Sparky riding on a Gator ATV “sleigh” provided by Fish and Steele Equipment in Crockett.
After the parade, Truman Lamb Junior introduced Courtney and Lyndsey Cole who started the program by singing “Silent Night.” Then he introduced Constable Morris Earl Luker for the opening prayer. He went on to recognize the last Billy Lamb and Snobia Smith by dedicating Christmas in Kennard 2010 in honor of their memory. He recognized Becky Pilkington and Jesse Stephens for providing refreshments every year, Willie Z. Mitchell for providing the fires for warmth, and Weldon Richards for landscaping the area around the tree.
Sherry Morgan announced the winners of the Kennard/Ratcliff Volunteer Fire department fundraiser. Norman Ellis and Lewis Chandler each won a child’s bicycle. Mr. Lamb then turned the microphone over to Judy Curry to announce the winners of the lawnmower raffle, the house lighting contest, and the parade winners. She gave a plaque and thanks to the Herman English family for donating the tree this year.
Simone Barlowe announced the winner of the Miss Kennard contest. The contestants raise money to give needy families in the community a wonderful Christmas. The contestants this year were: Emily Ashford, Bethanny Crowe, Shelley Curry, Raven English, Makayla Loving, and Anna White. This year there were two Miss Kennard’s because the top two contestant’s totals were less than a dollar different: Makayla Loving and Anna White. Even though they were not competing for Miss Kennard, three young men were involved in the fundraising efforts. They were Mikey Curry, Case McDonald, and Ryan Rushing. Collectively, these nine children raised over $2,000.00.
The evening rounded out with a count down to the tree lighting led by Bobby Calhoun with mayor Jesse Stephens “throwing the switch” to lit the tree. Courtney and Lyndsey Cole led the crown in a rousing chorus of “Jingle Bells.” There were refreshments provided by Jesse Stephens and Becky Pilkington.
Special thanks to Mike and Judy Curry, Willie Z. Mitchell, Tracy Copaus, Donelle Copaus, Jesse Stephens, Roger Rushing, North East Power Company, Becky Pilkington, Todd English, Laura Loving, Truman Lamb Senior, Truman Lamb Junior, Kennard/Ratcliff Volunteer Fire Department, Morris Earl Luker, Simone Barlowe, Courtney Cole, Lyndsey Cole, Suzanne Steed, Commercial Bank in Kennard, and the Kennard ISD Elementary Children. And thanks to all of the people in the community for supporting Christmas in Kennard.