Hopkins County Stew contest coming Sept. 16
By BILL ELLIOTT | Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce President

Aug. 24, 2006 -- Wow, fall is really a busy time of year in our community! Of course, the Hopkins County Fall Festival takes center stage in September, beginning with the parade on Sept. 9 and culminating with the World Champion Hopkins County Stew and all the other Fall Festival exhibits and events of the final weekend on Sept. 16. More about that later ...  

The Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce, Hopkins County Memorial Hosptial and Stewart Blood Center are partnering to host a blood drive on Friday, Aug. 25, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the local Wal-Mart Supercenter. Stewart Blood Center is the sole provider of blood to the citizens of Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County, and it is our understanding that they have a short supply currently, due to the demand during summer months. If you are 17 years of age or older, weigh 110 pounds or more, and are healthy, we need your help. Help save a life -- give blood. To schedule a donation, you may go to www.beagift.org and enter sponsor code 1001. Or, you may call 1-877-232-4438. Please eat before you go, and be sure and bring your driver’s license. That's Friday, Sept. 25, and drop-in donors are also welcome.  

The Chamber Ambassador Club will hold a ribbon cutting for Grace Custom Homes (off Mockingbird Lane at State Highway 11) at 11 a.m. on Thursday, August 24th. Then, on Thursday Aug. 31, at 4:30 p.m., a ribbon cutting will be held at Wound Care at Memorial. Immediately following this ribbon cutting, a Chamber "Business After Hours" Mixer will be held at Chris Coleman's Edward Jones office on the Southwest corner of the downtown square, from 5:15 until 6:15 p.m. All Chamber members are urged to attend these and all Chamber-related events.  

The Chamber Stew Committee, chaired by Keith Shurtleff, will hold a planning meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 29, at 5 p.m. in the Chamber Boardroom.  

Now, back to the Stew Contest ...

Saturday, Sept. 16, is the date of the 36th annual World Champion Hopkins County Stew Contest and we currently have more than 70 cooking teams registered for this year's event. Last year's contestants have until Friday, Aug. 25, to claim their stew site from last year. After that date, the sites will be up for grabs, first come, first served to the new cooking teams. Stew prize sponsors this year include Professional Land Title, Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap, Larry Milligan, Best Western Trail Dust Inn, Town & Country Cleaners, State Rep. Mark Homer, Custom Shutters, A.K.Gillis & Sons, Sulphur Springs Coca-Cola, Tire Town, and Suddenlink (formerly Cox Cable). Product sponsors include City National Bank and Alliance Bank for providing that good ol' Hopkins County cheese, Community Bank, Chili's, Furr's Cafeteria, Chicken Express and Piggly Wiggly. We want to thank these local businesses for their continued support of the Chamber and the World Champion Hopkins County Stew Contest.  

Tickets for the 3rd annual AFLAC-sponsored "Great American Duck Race" are now sale. This years "Duckmeister" is committee chair Sandy Wallace. Prize for the winning first place duck will again be $500. Second place finisher will earn a $250 prize, and third place finisher will garner $100. A $50 award for the last place finishing "lame duck" will also be awarded. Sulphur Springs Police Chief B.J. Bayuk will again be on hand, at the finish line, to pluck the lucky duck from the Civic Center "Aquaduck" running through the stew grounds. Duck tickets will be available for $5 each from several locations, including the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce, Plain & Fancy  Sandwiches, Town & Country Cleaners, Century 21 First Group, or any of the local banks. Tickets may also be purchased the day of the duck race on the stew grounds. The AFLAC Great American Duck Race will begin at approximately 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept.16, immediately after the announcement of the stew winners.  

And this final note ... Tickets for the upcoming Sept. 30 concert at Cooper Lake Center, featuring country music legend Gene Watson, along with Wade White and the Plain Label Band, are available at several locations in Sulphur Springs. Advance ticket price is $15 ($18 at the gate) and are available at the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce, Century 21 First Group, Community Bank, County Commissioner Danny Evans, Tom Stewart, and Penny's Cafe on State Highway 19 at Tira. The concert is sponsored by the South Sulphur Regional Development Association which is developing Cooper Lake Center. The concert begins at 7 p.m.; you will need to bring a blanket or lawn chairs. A concession will be available with barbecue sandwiches, chips, soft drinks and bottled water. This is state park land which means NO ALCOHOL OR COOLERS PERMITTED. Cooper Lake Center is located about 12 miles north of Sulphur Springs off State Highway 19. There will be signs which will indicate directions to the venue for  concertgoers who are not familiar with the location.

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