The 29th Annual Cotton Gin Festival in Downtown Bostwick drew an unprecedented crowd last Saturday to this year’s event.
Angie Howard, who organizes the event, estimated at least 7,200 people attended Saturday’s parade and afternoon of music, food, and family-friendly fun. Thousands lined the streets to cheer on this year’s Cotton King, John Nunn. Nunn, 88, is a fourth generation farmer with his family home on Wellington Street in Bostwick. Nunn served in the Navy before carrying on his family’s cotton farming legacy. He married his hometown girlfriend Ona Malcom in 1953 and the couple have four children together. Sixty-five years later, the Nunns still live in Bostwick.
“John was also the first Bostwick cotton farmer to pt purchase and put into service a mechanical cotton picker. He bought the first single row cotton picker in the 1960s and, because of the success of the innovation, purchased a double row picker as well. Civically, John served as a Morgan County Board of Commissioners member for 27 years, representing the Bostwick region while farming and, for more than 30 years, driving a Morgan County school bus. John also remains a member of the Wellington Masonic Lodge and helped the lodge in its annual Fourth of July barbecue fundraiser for many years. He has been a loyal member of the Bostwick United Methodist Church for more than 60 years and has served the church as a Sunday School Superintendent, choir member and teacher,” said a press release. “By the time John had retired from row crop farming he was planting more than 800 acres that included crops of cotton, corn, soybeans and wheat. When John retired cotton’s importance as a crop had diminished locally, however, the community of Bostwick continues to grow a strong enough yield to keep the local cotton gin thriving. Despite his retirement, John continues to keep a keen eye on the local farming community and its practices and remains proud that the region remains an agrarian community that continues to embrace King Cotton.”
Radio Personality Erick Erickson served as this year’s grand marshal during the parade.
According to Howard, this year’s festival was the biggest hit to date.
“We are not sure what we’re doing that has blessed us such growth, but according to a number of vendors, it’s the people that make the Bostwick festival a great place to be on a fall day in November,” said Howard. “It’s amazing that we have become such a large festival as such a small town. It’s all about community and being grateful for our blessings. Such blessings certainly include the Cotton harvest!”
Howard issued a special thanks to the Morgan County FFA for parking assistance, the National Honor Society Volunteers, Morgan County Jr. Conservancy Volunteers, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office – Reserve Officers and Explorers along with all the sponsors.