Local groups benefit from booths at Crothersville festival


If you purchased a lemon shake-up, a taco in a bag, a strawberry shortcake or baked goods at the Crothersville Red, White & Blue Festival, you helped classes at the school put money toward their senior trips.

If you bought a pork burger, you helped send a Crothersville FFA member to a camp, a convention or a leadership session.

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If you ate a loaded baked potato or shot a BB gun in an inflatable range, you supported a local Boy Scout troop.

The groups rely on people’s patronage at the three-day festival and appreciate the support.

All of them were in the same area on the school grounds except for the Class of 2024, which had its bake sale at the fire station on Moore Street.

Festival director Sherry Bridges was looking for a new group to take over the lemon-shakeup booth, and Class of 2020 sponsors Angie Keasler and Brandy Henry thought it would be a good fundraiser for the juniors to put toward their senior trip.

“This is our first time, so it has been kind of a learning experience for us, but the kids have had a lot of fun,” Keasler said. “We seem to be making some good money for the class, so we’re happy and pleased.”

Junior Brayden Growe had the process down pat.

“You’ve got to squeeze your lemons with love,” he said, smiling. “You’ve got to fill up the cup with ice, with love, of course. You’ve got to have the love. You put the squeezed lemons in the ice, pour some water in it and then you’ve got your corn syrup, two squirts, perfect.”

Growe also liked being around his classmates and meeting people at the festival.

“I wanted to help out because I want everybody to have a good experience on the senior trip, and I want to make sure we have enough money to do it,” he said. “I’m thankful I can be a part of it.”

Keasler said they ordered three cases of lemons — with 165 apiece — to have for the festival, and she hoped to use all of them.

“We really don’t have a dollar figure,” she said of the fundraising goal. “We just want to do our best and let the kids have a good time. They work great together.”

Henry said it was great to see the class members run the booth.

“They are a good bunch of kids,” she said.

The Class of 2022 sold tacos in a bag. Missi Clouse, the class sponsor along with Josie Chadwick, said the class will run the booth until they are juniors, and then it will pass on to a seventh-grade class.

“It’s a good bonding time,” Clouse said. “I’m the manager of Subway, so customer service is obviously important to me. Just to watch them work together as a team for a common goal is amazing.”

Clouse said it has been a busy year for the class members, as they attended their first formal dance and then worked the booth at the festival.

“They had much more fun at the formal,” she said, smiling. “This is a little bit more work, but I tell you what, every one of these kids has been on point. Anything they need to do, they stay on top of it.”

Chadwick said the students have matured a lot since she became class sponsor when they were sixth-graders.

“That’s good because when we do these sorts of things, we need teamwork,” she said. “We’ve got a good group who works well together. They usually sign up for everything we ask. They do whatever we ask.”

Freshman Jalen Gibson said he was happy to help man the booth.

“It just felt right,” he said. “We get to bond over the summer so we don’t lose touch with each other. I just know that I helped my class.”

The Class of 2023 sold strawberry shortcakes, a new offering at this year’s festival.

With the dessert purchase, festivalgoers could recognize someone who served or currently is serving in the military with a Hero Card. The cards with the person’s name and branch of service were pinned to boards next to the booth. They created the motto “Honoring our heroes one serving at a time.”

Sabrina Hall, the class sponsor along with Stacy Maxie, said her husband, Ed, came up with the Hero Card idea.

“He is all American,” Sabrina said. “It’s just really important to us. Stacy’s son is in the Air Force. We just know too many people, so it was like, ‘We’ve got to honor these people that have given their life for us.’”

The Halls and Maxie all have fathers who served, and Maxie’s son, Tyler Comer, a 2014 Crothersville graduate, has been in the Air Force for three years. He is stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida and will be deployed to Kuwait in July.

“This is emotional,” Maxie said of the Hero Cards. “People that haven’t been through the military said they don’t know what it’s like for graduations and being away from your family and all of that. I hope we can bring that back to them through the class, that they understand all of that.”

Eighth-grader Kilie Reynolds said she worked all three days of the festival.

“I thought it would be fun, and then I like helping out with the community,” she said. “We have fun making (the strawberry shortcakes) and having to talk to people.”

Reynolds said several family members have been connected to the military, so that was a draw, too.

“People get to get recognized for what they’ve done,” she said of the Hero Cards.

The FFA’s pork burger stand has been a staple at the festival for 29 years.

So what makes them so popular?

“Special sauce,” adviser Linda Myers said.

She didn’t want to give away the recipe, but she said they were likely to sell more than 1,500 pork burgers.

“Plus, the fact they are a third of a pound, they are not a quarter-pounder, and they are on charcoal,” she said. “Very few people cook on charcoal anymore.”

FFA members used to only work the three days of the festival, but for the second year in a row, the booth also was open Wednesday night while amusement rides were in operation.

The booth is one of the FFA’s three annual moneymakers. The others are community yard sales in the spring and fall.

Proceeds allow them to attend FFA activities, including Myers and six students going to the state convention later this month at Purdue University in West Lafayette.

FFA President Cami Keasler, a junior, will go to the convention after placing first in scrapbooking at the district contest.

She said she has worked the festival booth for five years.

“Being able to help the community out with FFA and helping fry pork burgers, spending time with classmates, it really helps a lot,” Keasler said. “Then with our personalities when we talk to people, this gives us a good representation for our school.”

She wouldn’t give away the secret sauce recipe, either.

“(Customers) ask about the sauce. They love the sauce. Only a few of us know that recipe,” she said, smiling.

This was the seventh year for Boy Scout Troop 522 to have a food booth but first time selling baked potatoes, said Edward Byrd, unit commissioner.

Several of the nearly 30 area boys in the troop helped with the booth.

They also manned an inflatable shooting education range, giving festivalgoers a chance to shoot a BB gun. The Hoosier Trails Council loaned it to them for free after the Scouts went through training.

“They just got this last fall, so this is the first time any unit has used it,” Byrd said. “It has been fantastic. The boys have really been shooting.”

Scout Corey Engleking said the booth allowed them to promote the troop.

“It gets us more money and might get a few more boys,” he said. “Everyone is nice, and it’s nice to just talk to them.”

Byrd said it’s great to have the troop involved in the festival. At the first one 43 years ago, he was in the Cub Scouts and walked in the parade.

“I’ve been in almost every one since the very first one because my kids were (in Scouts),” he said. “Representing the community and helping the community, that’s the Boy Scouts’ job to do what we can to help the community.”