The 16th annual Sorghum Festival was held at Tipton-Haynes Historic Site in Johnson City, Tennessee on Saturday, September 17.
Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from gluten-free goodies to home renovation projects. Today on the blog, we are chatting about the 16th annual Sorghum Festival at Tipton-Haynes Historic Site in Johnson City + meeting Mr. C.B. Reese and finding out his connection to the Sorghum Festival.
Mr. C.B. Reese was the honored guest and celebrity at this year’s Sorghum Festival at Tipton-Haynes.
Now, without further ado (because it has been crazy busy in the art studio the past few weeks, and there’s been no time to sit a spell), let’s take a look at some highlight photos from the festival.
Tools of the blacksmith
Mike Rose, Master Blacksmith, has been metalsmithing for over 40 years.
During the festival, Mike Rose created a dinner bell in the shape of an apple. In this photo, he is working on the leaf of the apple.
The finished leaf crafted by Mike Rose.
Apple dinner bell by Mike Rose. To learn more about the success and talent of Mike Rose, click here.
The hubby and I had a wonderful time watching Mike Rose, Master Blacksmith at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge for 25 years, create a dinner bell in the shape of an apple.
Cooking corn cakes also known as sweet cakes in the kitchen at Tipton-Haynes.
These corn cakes are sweetened using sorghum molasses. The mission of the kitchen demonstration was to show how much work preparing a meal was back in the day + to help people appreciate their food by understanding the history behind it.
Visitors to the festival sat a spell and enjoyed the music.
One of the stars of the Sorghum Festival
Working the mill and keeping the past alive
Generations ago, producing sorghum molasses was not an easy job. In fact, it was very labor intensive! After harvesting the sorghum cane (which means cutting the cane down by hand), each plant was topped (seed heads cut off by hand), and the seeds saved for next year’s crop. Once the seeds were saved, the leaves were stripped, and the canes were fed through the mill–which is what the next few photos show.
Feeding the cane into the mill while the mule turns the mill.
In this photo, history is being preserved by teaching the traditional ways of making sorghum molasses.
The sorghum mill being used at Tipton-Haynes was donated by C.B. Reese from Vilas, North Carolina.
This mill belonged to C.B. Reese’s grandfather, and it is over 125 years old. The Reese’s Mill has been the star of the Sorghum Festival at Tipton-Haynes since 1999.
Chatting with Mr. C.B. Reese (to my left) and Mike McKinney, the mule man from Carter County, about the mill that belonged to Mr. C.B.’s granddaddy.
It was an honor meeting and talking with Mr. C.B. at the 16th annual Sorghum Festival. In this photo, I am chatting with him and Mike McKinney about the history of the mill. (Jeff Greene, the mule whisperer, is in the background.)
C.B. Reese, born in 1922, pictured with a jar of sorghum molasses. It is amazing–almost unbelievable–how the world has changed since he was born. The hubby and I had the opportunity to hear about some of those changes first hand from Mr. C.B. **Honestly, I could sit a spell with Mr. C.B. all day for a week!!**
Oscar Wagner (left) with C.B. Reese waiting to chat with WCYB about the importance of the Sorghum Festival.
Oscar Wagner stated that not only does the Sorghum Festival demonstrate the traditional ways, it also shows how much hard work goes into producing food in hopes that people will appreciate their food more. Mr. Wagner also joked that it was a heck of an excuse for a party! **I am totally in for a sorghum party!**
After the canes have been squeezed, the juice is taken to be boiled down into syrup.
The juice must be monitored closely and skimmed constantly in order to produce the sweetest and best syrup.
Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about the 16th annual Sorghum Festival at Tipton-Haynes Historic Site with special guest C.B. Reese. Now, before y’all dash off, take a look at a few more photos from the festival.
C.B. Reese, 94 years old, standing in front of his grandaddy’s mill. Mr. Reese was tickled to be at the festival seeing his family’s beloved mill in action.
Waiting for the WCYB interview
Because every party needs cute bunting!