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Mule Day is Saturday

DENNIS VICKERS dips the cooler syrup and places it back over the hotter syrup in an effort to regulate the temperature and keep the syrup from burning.

The day to celebrate the workhorse of family farms of old is this Saturday in Calvary where the 36th annual Mule Day is set to take place. The Lions Club of Calvary, along with many volunteers, is ready to welcome tens of thousands of visitors to the small south Grady County community.
As a sign of the times, the club, which has only 30 members now, has taken this year’s Mule Day to the computer age, establishing its own website, “That was a big leap for the Calvary Lions Club,” says Sue Rodemoyer, club treasurer. Rodemoyer says the website really helped with communications, “We sent out postcards to anyone who had participated in Mule Day in the last three years, and anyone who had asked for information. We sent the postcards to 1,100 addresses, directing them to our website to download an application.” She says there were only 70 who were unable to access the website and needed an application sent in the mail.
Of the applications they receive, the Lions Club selected 450 arts and crafts vendors to display their wares this year, and 50-75 food booths. Among the food items sold is the famous Mule Day cane syrup, sold now in a souvenir five-ounce bottle for $2. A 10-ounce bottle will be available for $3. Lions Club members are busy this week cooking and bottling the golden nectar right on the Mule Day grounds.
The Mule Day Parade is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., and the Mule Show is at 1 p.m. More detailed information is available in the “Mule Day Gazette,” available in some issues of The Cairo Messenger and also available at the Mule Day Grounds Saturday.
In addition to shopping and eating, visitors may enjoy performances by various entertainment troupes scheduled throughout the day.
Whigham School is contributing to the big event for a second year, providing history lessons on subjects connected to Mule Day such as mules, syrup and sugar cane. The public is invited to support the students who will be on hand at the Mule Day Museum Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. This part of Mule Day is entitled “History Here Today.”
As a special feature this year, antique clock experts from Tallahassee will be on hand at the museum Saturday to answer questions visitors may pose.
Rodemoyer says the Lions Club is proud of its ability to provide a fun day for Grady County and the surrounding areas, but more proud of the contributions it is able to make to the local economy and welfare. She estimates the event has put $1 million back into the economy over the last 10 years, with 80 percent of that staying in Grady County. That number excludes motels and restaurant expenditures.
The charity most connected to Lions Club is sight programs, helping those in need pay for glasses and eye exams. Rodemoyer says the club also helps hearing impaired and diabetes causes, plus schools, bands and volunteer fire departments. “If it’s good for the community, then we take a look at it,” she says.
Putting on Mule Day takes the effort of many volunteers, and Rodemoyer says that is crucial. “Thank God we have volunteers. They are wonderful,” she says. Anyone or any other group interested is invited to chip in as well.

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