Haggard takes over reins for anniversary event
Posted: Friday, December 3, 2010 8:01 pm
By KEVIN BOWDEN
It may still be a year away, but organizers of Reelfoot Lake’s 200th anniversary are beginning to put the pieces together for a celebration that is shaping up to be a major undertaking.
So major in fact that there is a new chairman for the event. State Park Specialist David Haggard has taken over as chairman.
Turning over the reins of the organization, Ginny Acree described Haggard as an “excellent leader” and said she looked forward to working with him on the bicentennial project.
The planning committee met for more than two hours Monday afternoon at the Reelfoot Lake Tourism Center.
One thing became very clear as the meeting progressed, and that is there are still numerous details to be worked out for the celebration.
With a heavy downpour outside the building, members of the planning committee rolled up their sleeves inside and got to work on some of the many events being planned.
One of the most significant details that emerged from Monday’s meeting was the announcement by wildlife artist Frank Baggett that he will donate a five-foot-by-four-foot framed painting depicting Reelfoot Lake.
Baggett, of Waverly, said he hopes to have the painting done by Christmas and will donate the framed original painting to the bicentennial committee.
That announcement sparked a lively conversation about ways to use the large painting to promote the bicentennial. The committee also discussed ideas about how to use the painting as a fundraiser.
Baggett estimated the painting would be valued at several thousand dollars and said he would turn over the copyright to the bicentennial group. Among the ideas discussed was an auction of the painting, making prints of the painting, and possibly even selling T-shirts featuring the print.
When asked how long it would take him to complete the painting, Baggett replied, “I’m fast” and said he hoped to have the painting done within the next few weeks. He said it would be a one-of-a-kind painting.
Baggett said he plans to feature the Reelfoot Lake landscape in his painting, and expected to incorporate a blue wing teal duck into the panel.
The artist also said he would feature a blog on his website (www.frankbaggett.com) documenting progress on the painting.
Also during Monday’s meeting, the committee decided not to set up a display at the Obion County Public Library in January and February 2011, as originally planned, and will instead work toward setting up a display there in the fall of 2011.
A planned run/walk was also discussed at Monday’s meeting.
Health Quest director Lorraine Gossett was one of more than a dozen organizers at the meeting and expressed interest in having Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union City sponsor the event. Organizers decided to schedule the event during a weekend in October 2011. What hasn’t been worked out is whether a second sponsor could be added and how to promote the event.
At this stage of the planning process, it is apparent organizers are focused on how to finance the bicentennial celebration while also scheduling events that are both entertaining and educational. Public participation in the bicentennial celebration is seen as a key factor to its success, and so the planning committee appears committed to a series of events that appeals to a broad range of tastes.
Other ideas brought up during the meeting were the use of Reelfoot Lake-themed memorial and sympathy cards, a bicycle tour, commemorative placemats, colorful Reelfoot Lake yards signs and a “Lake of Thunder” play.
In addition to the many events being specifically planned for Reelfoot Lake’s bicentennial, Haggard said many of the lake’s traditional activities could also be incorporated into the celebration.
Reelfoot Lake events traditionally scheduled during the year include pontoon boat cruises, eagle tours, wildlife programs, a fall arts and crafts festival and a fall waterfowl festival.
For those who are unfamiliar with the history of Reelfoot Lake, a series of violent earthquakes occurred over a several month period transforming what was once a Cypress forest into a large lake. The first of the earthquakes hit during the early morning hours of Dec. 16, 1811, while aftershocks and tremors continued into early February 1812.
The bicentennial planning committee will not meet in December. The next meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. Jan. 24, 2011, at the Reelfoot Lake Tourism Center.
Published in The Messenger 12.3.10