By Tia Lynn Lecorchick managing editor
Each year, a new queen is crowned at Bostwick’s Cotton Gin Festival. This year, for the 25th Annual Cotton Gin Festival, set to take place on Nov. 1 at 9 am, Margaret Gilbert, 92 has been chosen as the festival’s queen. “She will represent the Cotton Gin Festival as the Cotton Gin Queen and ride upfront in the parade,’ said Angie Howard, Bowstick city council member. “She’s been a lifelong farmer, a very lovely and well-respected lady. She has always been pleasant. It’s more of a right of passage for living in Bostwick and being a part of that generation. We want to honor that.” “I’m flattered they chose me,” said Gilbert. “Farming has always been a part of my life and I’ve enjoyed it.” Mary Alice Gilbert, Margaret’s daughter, was thrilled for her mother to be chosen as festival queen. “We are exciting about getting the family together for this,” said Mary Alice Gilbert. “My mother is very family-oriented and an amazing person.” Gilbert is the ideal candidate to represent a festival that is centered around celebrating farming and country living. Gilbert was born into farming, picking cotton for her family’s farm since she was child. Her parents, Charlie and Ines Allen, instilled into Margaret the value of hard work and sense of pride that comes with working the land. She married Harold Gilbert in 1940 and has resided in Morgan County ever since. She carried on the farm-life when her husband opened a dairy farm after returning from serving in the navy during World War II. “Those were the hardest days of my life, while he was away,” said Gilbert. Once Harold returned from the war, he was determined to establish a family farm of their own. The Gilberts got off to a rough start when the first three cows they purchased died as a result of residual arsenic that was present in the ground. “We never gave up,” said Gilbert. “My husband went out and bought 11 more cows to start the dairy farm.” The Gilberts eventually built up a successful farm, Gilbert and Sons Dairy Farm, which, according to Gilbert, kept her family close-knit and appreciative for all they had. “We never had much back then, nobody did, so we were thankful for what we did have,” said Gilbert. Margaret Gilbert has three children, eight grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, and 4 great-great grandchildren. Her husband Harold passed away in 2005. One of her grandsons, Russ Gilbert, now operates the family farm, which is no longer a dairy farm, but a beef farm. “I’ve lived a full life,” said Margaret Gilbert, who lived through The Depression, two World Wars, and the rapid development of technology and modern life. Besides farming, art is one of Margaret’s life passions. Her house is decorated with paintings she had done throughout the course of her life. She enjoys gardening and growing beautiful and exotic flowers on her property. “I can’t wait to see my family and I hope people can appreciate all the hard work it takes to farm like our family did,” said Gilbert.