First events of city's 150th birthday draw at least 500
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Undertaker Dan Campbell (left) uses his cane to measure a coffin just before the noose is pulled taut on Enola Gay (center), while "Hangman" Gifford Long (second from left), "Deputy" John Chester (second from right) and "Sheriff" Joe McCorkle get ready for the hanging to take place during a session of the "Law South of Sulphur" court on the downtown square Tuesday. The "court" was busy assessing "fines" in good fun to raise money for the ongoing sesquicentennial celebration marking the city's 150th birthday.
-Staff photo by Ricky Russell

July 6, 2004 -- Sulphur Springs community members were out in full force this past week enjoying the opening festivities of the town's 150th birthday celebration.

"Last weekend was a great success," said Bobby McDonald, chairman of the Sulphur Springs Sesquicentennial Celebration. "We had huge numbers come out for the quilt walk and activities at the park."

McDonald said at least 500 people enjoyed the day's events that included strolling along North Davis Street admiring the works of the Lone Star Heritage Quilt Guild before making their way to Heritage Park to antique cars, free cornbread and beans and live entertainment.

They also sampled homemade ice cream from participants competing for the "People's Choice" award that would entitle their recipe to be published in the town's commemorative cookbook entitled "Tastes, Tales, and Traditions." Mary Ellen Hoybook won first place against more than 30 entries with her chocolate toffee recipe, with second place going to Mary Koon's peach ice cream, and third awarded to Ben Watson and Keifer Davis for their chocolate delight recipe.

The antique car rally was a sight to see, McDonald said, with everything from vintage Ford Mustangs to old farm trucks.

"There were representatives there from all different years," he said. "The music at the park was great. It was just a real fun day."

But the fun didn't end there. It carried right on over to the evening events on the downtown square with more music and fireworks. "The Law South of the Sulphur" was also on the scene giving fair warning to community members not in possession of a "beard or beauty permit." The badges allow the men to shave and women to wear makeup during the three-week period of the sesquicentennial celebration.

Some, however, did not heed the warnings and found themselves behind bars, or worse, as they faced "the hanging tree." The first arrest was that of Scott Keys, publisher of the Sulphur Springs New-Telegram, who was "picked up" at Gober-Merrell Chevrolet Buick and charged with "dealing with a dealer."

According to McDonald, Keys was tried, hung and fitted for a coffin by undertaker Danny Campbell as a crowd of onlookers applauded his demise. Keys' mother, Carolyn Stewart, was also arrested along with News-Telegram managing editor Bruce Alsobrook and Jim Butler, vice president/controller of Echo Publishing. Other arrests included KSST's Enola Gay and Bill Bradford.

"It was definitely media day," laughed McDonald, who stated that other business people should beware.

Besides a week full of arrests, trials and "hangin's" on the square, next weekend's events include an agricultural tour that begins with a free breakfast at Mary Bonham's Rafter L Ranch, and a tour of some of the town's historic homes, followed by dinner on the grounds at Buford Park at 6 p.m., when people are invited to bring a picnic and enjoy gospel singing.

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