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Surprises can yield so many good things

Do you like surprises?

On Saturday, I ventured out to the Poarch Reservation to take some pictures of the tribal council’s election.

To be honest, I didn’t really know where I was going and during my drive to the voting booths, I noticed a festival was being held on the Pow Wow grounds.

Instantly, I became curious, but wanted to keep on task.

Finally finding the voting booth, I took some pictures of voters penning their choices for the spots up for election on the council.

While taking advantage of this opportunity, I asked an election board member what was going on at the grounds nearby.

The board member said the annual Chief Calvin McGhee Festival is being held. The festival is held in honor of McGhee, who passed away in 1970.

McGhee was born in Poarch in 1903, and was named to the Atmore Hall of Fame and the Alabama Hall of Fame.

He was instrumental in starting the Poarch Creek Indians’ movement for a better life. Additionally, he demanded equal education from the Escambia County School Board of Education for the Poarch tribe, and for federal recognition for the tribe.

The festival featured rides that are often found at fairs alike, including a spinning wheel, various high vaulted rides and inflatable castles and water obstacles.

Speaking of water, it rained for a short while during the festival, but that didn’t deter participants from enjoying the day.

As the rain came down, a lot sought shelter and some stayed out to enjoy the festivities.

It was like they were impervious to the rain.

While standing under the Pow Wow ground’s center building, I couldn’t help but notice children clamoring to get some Kona Ice.

One thing about the exchange between the Kona vender and its customers was that no money was given.

Upon some investigative work near the grill masters’ area, one griller said that everything was free.

When I learned that, I was quite amazed because that’s a lot of food and drinks for the festivalgoers.

Then, I thought about who the festival is for, McGhee.

He must have been a great man who meant a lot to the Poarch Creek Indians here.

So, from now on, I won’t be surprised when I see a festival on the Poarch grounds on the first Saturday in June.