Malone’s 44th annual Pecan Festival reported to be largest ever

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    Photo by Spring Southwell - Gene Wright is presented a recognition by Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture from The Governor, Senator Gainer, Rep. Drake, Com. Of Ag. Fried and Missy and the Jaco. Angels

    Last year’s Pecan Festival was derailed by Hurricane Michael. Malone Mayor Gene Wright had a statement to make this year and he made sure that happened. This year’s event would be the biggest and best ever and for all those who attended Saturday’s event, they would agree.
    There was entertainment, food, events for everyone from the very young to the senior citizens and they were enjoyed by the thousands who attended. The parade kicked off at 10:00 a.m. with over 160 entries this year. Mayor Wright, as everyone knows, has battled health issues over the last year but that didn’t stop him from walking in the parade, shaking hands and giving out hugs and kisses to everyone in the crowd. Local students, law enforcement, and performers made the journey through the small town.
    Thousands filled the streets all day as the community took advantage of everything the festival had to offer. “It’s just a time for all the community to come together. You know we had a rough year so it’s good to see your neighbors and just have a good time,” said Clint Pate, Jackson County Chairman.
    One youngster made no bones about his favorite part of the parade, “The candy, it’s great because they just throw it out there and you can grab all you want. The food is also good but you have to pay for it and the candy is free.”
    Vendors also lined the streets selling goods and attracting residents by the thousands.
    The festival also featured a car show, an Elvis impersonator and performance by country music star Shane Owen.
    “You’ve got some live music going on and you got booths and food and things for the kids, just good family fun,” Pate said.
    Those participating in the parade say coming out and seeing all the familiar faces is what it’s all about.
    “It’s a little bit of a reunion of sorts. We see a lot of people that we went to school with and some that have stayed around and some that even come back for this event,” said Phyllis Daniels, a Malone resident.
    And to residents, it was about more than just pecans.
    “Since it’s such a small town we really try to celebrate what we can and today is pecan festival so we just like to celebrate pecans and kind of have a day where the whole entire town can get together,” said Macy Jordan.
    The community says they owe the festivals success to their Mayor Gene Wright. This year was definitely considered the biggest and the best to include special guest and Wright was also honored for his hard work and many years as Mayor of Malone. He was presented letters from elected officials as well as one from Missy Harcus with Jaco Angel’s Hurricane Relief. The letter could not have nailed Gene Wright’s role in Malone any better. It read, “What do you say about Gene Wright? Giving? Motivated? Energetic? Loves Malone? Loves Jackson County? Protector of his town? Dedicated to the people of Malone? YES! All of those are the perfect description of Mayor Gene Wright. He took the oath of office with the same conviction as he did his marriage vows. Through sickness and health, through good and bad, he has been the rock for Malone! Hurricane Michael had nothing on Gene Wright. He weathered the category five hurricane better than most weather an afternoon spring shower. Day after day, week after week, and yes month after month, he was steadily providing supplies to the people of Malone. There were hot meals, diapers, food, pet supplies, water, cleaning supplies, you name it or you need it, he made sure you had it. He left his damaged home to make sure others with damaged homes had what they needed. He used every resource and contact he’s made in his tenure as mayor to make sure his town was taken care of. When they were and others outside his community were in need, he spread the wealth to them. Malone missed its 44th Pecan Festival and Fun Day last year due to Hurricane Michael. Gene made it his mission to bring back the 44th Pecan Festival and Fun Day as the best one yet. And that he did. That is just one of 1000s of missions he has completed during his terms as Mayor. Today, we salute Mayor Gene Wright and the people of Malone pay honor to him for always looking after their best interest. Mayor Gene Wright, you are loved more than you could ever know.”
    Hats off to Malone for hosting a most successful event and a providing a chance for everyone to enjoy a day in the sun.

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