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By Tia Lynn Ivey

managing editor

The Annual Cotton Gin Festival in Bostwick, which took place last Saturday, had a record-breaking year.

“We had the largest crowd so far,” said Angie Howard, festival organizer.

The festival stayed true to its roots, kicking-off the event with its annual parade. Usually, a Cotton Queen is selected Bostwick, but this year, the city picked the first-ever Cotton King, Gene Ruark, who was a part of a 100-year family cotton farming business. Sadly, Ruark passed away a couple weeks before the festival. His children and grandchildren rode in the parade with a memorial banner to honor Ruark.

The festival also had many other firsts this year, according to Howard.

For the first time, guests were allowed to pick cotton from the fields themselves. The Cotton Gin Commission made their first appearance at the festival, providing information about the cotton farming industry with attendees. And most excitingly, a Italian filmcrew shot scenes from the festival throughout the day, making a movie that will feature the footage that will premier in Italy.

“It was a year of many firsts,” said Howard.

The Cotton Gin Festival Committee released a statement thanking the “entire county” for their support, incuduing The Morgan County Sheriffs Office, Morgan County Interim Manager, Explorers, Reserve Officers, The Morgan County High School Robotics Team, The National Junior Honor Society, The Cross Country team, which supported the 5K Gin Run, and the Future Farmers of America.

All proceeds from this event will go toward the maintenance of the Susie Agnes Hotel in Bostwick.

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