nearly a 10-year absence, The Pondtown Festival will once again take place this weekend in
Thanks, that is, to the efforts of Rhine native, Kayla Williams, whose grandfather and former Rhine mayor, J.T. Williams, started the arts and crafts festival in Rhine in 1976.
"We're holding it in memory of him," Williams said. "He started it all
those years ago, and we just wanted to get it started again." With the help of
Randall and Miranda Rogers of Rhine and Buddy and Kim Clements of Abbeville, seven weeks
of hard work has culminated in a fun-filled day of events.
This year's Pondtown Festival will begin on Saturday, June 26, 1999 at 9:00 a.m. Williams
said that over 40 arts and crafts vendors will be there, along with entertainment
including local dance groups, a horse-drawn carriage, the Richard Petty Driving Experience
car and much more. A parade will begin at 2:00 p.m.
The festival will last until midnight, concluded with the band, Prism, beginning its set
at 8:00 p.m. "We are devoting the day to the family, and then we will end with the
band," Williams said. "It should be a lot of fun for everyone."
In addition to a car show and a visit from a robot from Atlanta, "Days of Our
Lives" actor James Reynolds will be on hand to sign autographs for soap fans from
3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.
After the elder Williams started the festival in 1976, Pondtown became an event that many
people took part in each year. This year's festival will be held in memory of Williams and
a few of those people like Lucille Conley, who was master of ceremonies for The Miss
Pondtown Pageant each year.
her death in 1997, Conley could be seen on The Del Ward Show promoting Pondtown. She was
married to the late Belvin Conley and owned and operated Belvin's Furniture for almost 40
Also being honored this year are Harry Lee Collins and David Joseph Braden.
Collins served as an investigator and deputy for the Dodge County Sheriff's Department for
over 10 years. Braden was a city councilman for Rhine for several years in addition to
being employed with CSX Railroad for 28 years and U.T.U. Insurance for six years.
Chosen this year to be the grand marshals are Beatrice "Miss Bea" McCranie,
Flossie Wells Rush, Limus Reaves and Frank Mizell Clements. All well-known figures in
Rhine and Dodge County, most were involved in the public education system. Rush taught
many students during her years at Rhine Elementary School teaching kindegarten. Moving
from Eastman to Rhine, she said the move was definitely a good one.
"I love living in Rhine," she said. "Everybody knows me, and I know all the
young people here. The people in Rhine are number one in my book. I want to thank the
people for choosing me to be one of the grand marshals. This is a great honor and a
blessing for me."
Rhine Mayor Jane Lann invites everyone to come see the revival of this famous festival.