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Hot politics draws big crowds to Jacinto

One of the many candidates for state office speaks from the stage at Jacinto as the U.S. flag waves in the breeze.

Staff photo by Jebb Johnston

By Jebb Johnston


JACINTO — It was a good day to pull up a lawn chair, sip lemonade, eat a corndog and listen to fiery political speeches.

The heat was on at Jacinto for the 40th Independence Day ritual on the grounds of the historic courthouse of Old Tishomingo, with candidates for office from the county level up to governor taking the stage.

The rhetoric among the state hopefuls was often on the folksy and bold side.

"Some of these politicians were born with a silver spoon in their mouth. I was born with a plastic spoon in mine," quipped one.

Some were just aiming high.

"I want it all, I want it here and I want it now," said one hopeful.

From a comfortably shaded spot under the Sons of the American Legion tent, election commissioner John Peebles kept an ear on the speeches.

"I like sitting right here," he said. "This is their year, and they're having to work it. Next year, I'll be walking the whole time."

On the other side of the grounds from the political stage, arts and crafts vendors sought the attention of the festival crowd. Tony Mobley of Iuka got a lot of looks with his collection of unusual flowerpots made from dish towels, bath towels and throws.

"We were at a craft show years ago down around Water Valley and we saw some of these," he said. "I came back home and started figuring out how to make them."

The key to the unique look is that the fabric pieces are dipped in concrete and molded into shape to dry. He's looking forward to doing a workshop on the technique at the MSU Extension Office in Iuka on July 16.

Another popular spot was the line for hot dogs, drinks and other festival foods. Diana Jones of Corinth joined the line between the spotty showers that began to pass through around noon. A regular at the festival, she said she did some shopping with the vendors and always enjoys listening to the candidates to "see who you really need to be voting for."

Volunteers help the Jacinto Foundation bring the festival tradition back each year. Among them is Austin Wiginton, who was working his third festival.

"It's my hometown," he said, "and to get to be a part of something big like this, it's fun. I enjoy the people."

He portrayed a member of the jury in the "Blood Country" movie recently filmed at the courthouse.

"We couldn't have put this together without the volunteers," said Executive Director Beth Whitehurst. "And we really appreciate the crowd for showing up."