In Appreciation Of The Musical Fruit

I was reading the local newspaper today and noticed that a small nearby town is again holding its annual Bean Dinner, a special festival that has taken place for well over a century. Although my family never lived in that particular town while I was growing up, I can remember that we often made the long drive to the festival site, as did many others in the area.

The nominal attraction was the chance to stuff ourselves with free beans, but it offered all kinds of other attractions too — carnival rides (which weren’t free), softball, and the like. Those were the things that the dads and kids headed for, while the moms had to stand in line with a big pot to get our free beans from the huge kettles bubbling over the open fires. Later the moms could play bingo, and everyone could listen to music from various live performers.

I’m sure there are bean festivals around the country that celebrate beans as an important local crop, but this particular event started all the way back in 1890 as a way to salute Civil War veterans. It has evolved through the years to include a flea market and various other activities, including the always-popular tractor pull.

But a post about beans wouldn’t be complete without an old verse that most will remember:

Beans, beans, the musical fruit.

The more you eat the more you toot.

The more you toot the better you feel.

So eat your beans for every meal.

Louis Jordon – “Beans And Cornbread” 

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