MILLEDGEVILLE — The Kitchens family moved just across the county line from Jones County to Baldwin County in 1903, where the home place remained in the family for more than 100 years.
Bobby Kitchens remembers when his grandfather purchased the then 200-acre property. Pecan and pair trees still standing are more than 100 years old.
Hard work and simple country living were mainstays for the Kitchenses. A mule named Rat helped raise the current relatives.
“We came up on a farm. There wasn't any going to the grocery store,” Kitchens said.
The mule plowed the family land, where the main crops were cotton, corn, watermelon, sweet potatoes and sugar cane. This large family garden nourished everyone during the spring and summer, as well as to preserve food for the winter.
Remembering the country life led the Kitchens family to the festival route last year.
The Kitchens Road Old Time Family Festival began as the last remaining festival of its kind.
The Kitchens family wanted to keep the country festivals alive, so people could have a place to go and visit with friends and family. The festival allows everyone to make new friends and memories as well as to let the kids learn about the way of the farm life.
“That was the compliment last year. People liked being out in the country and good, clean family fun,” Kitchens said.
The second edition returns next weekend, Nov. 9-10, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The family said thousands came through the grounds last year, but many still missed out.
Grace Albrycht said flyers and shirts should help get the word out this time.
“Really, a lot of people didn't know about the festival last year until it was over,” Albrycht said.
Mainly, the festival organizers concentrate on Baldwin, Jones, Putnam, Wilkinson and Hancock counties.
Antique tractors, cars and sawmill equipment are sure to intrigue visitors.
This year the festival features country music and gospel groups. Seven or eight local bands will play throughout.
“They are donating all of their time,” Kitchens said. “All the entertainers are coming to help the festival.”
Expect 50 arts and crafts vendors and more than 10 food vendors. The farthest hail from Alabama and North Carolina.
“We are trying to stay as local as possible,” Kitchens said.
The collard green cook-off will have the place smelling right.
Children and adults can also bungee jump.
For a new addition, the Dixie Aeromasters will fly in the parking lots.
The Kitchens family partnered with the Lions Club International of Milledgeville once again. The club's primary charity focus is eye and vision health.
Kids 12 years old and younger are admitted free. Parking costs nothing and general admission tickets are $5.
The prices are affordable.
“We are out in the country. You don't have to walk on asphalt or dodge cars. We've got a good, clean parking lot,” Kitchens said. “If someone is handicapped and wants to bring scooters or electric carts come on.”
The hard work won't stop until the opening day.
“It's an all year thing to get to that Saturday morning,” Kitchens said.
The festival truly lives out its slogan, “Where Everything Old Is New Again.”
“We want the family to come out and enjoy themselves out in the country,” Albrycht said. “It's something good for them to do.”
Kitchens Road is located off Highway 49 around 14 miles from Milledgeville and 20 miles from Macon. Call 478-251-4993 or visit www.kitchensroadoldtimefamilyfestival.com for info about the weekend.
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