Auction benefits lake celebration

Auction benefits lake celebration
Auction benefits lake celebration | Reelfoot Lake Bicentennial Celebration
Staff Reporter
There’s going to be one long and entertaining anniversary party at Reelfoot Lake this winter.
The 200th anniversary of the formation of Reelfoot Lake is coming up and organizers have been working for the past year on a variety of events to help commemorate the lake’s bicentennial.
Events have been scheduled over the next few months, beginning with a special auction set for 6 p.m. Nov. 12.
Reelfoot Lake’s Ellington Hall will host the live auction of 14 donated items on that Saturday night and all the money raised from the event will help finance events being planned as part of the Reelfoot Lake Bicentennial Celebration.
The bicentennial committee met Tuesday evening at Ellington Hall to go over some of the upcoming events being planned for the bicentennial.
“I think the bicentennial events are going well,” Haggard told The Messenger. “There’s been a lot of interest in the history of the lake.”
So far, the committee has collected Reelfoot Lake duck calls, original artwork, books, original folk art, donated duck hunts and a variety of specialty items to be auctioned by Rudy Tate of Union City.
One of the most significant items that will be auctioned will be an original painting, “Memories of Reelfoot Lake,” by wildlife artist Frank Baggett. His framed painting depicts a landscape view of the lake with its signature Cypress trees and a group of blue wing teal ducks in flight.
The auction will also feature a framed print of “Waters of Reelfoot” by Union City wildlife artist David Flood, an original piece of hand-thrown pottery by Rob Spicer of Samburg, an original hand-thrown pottery bowl by The Preaching Potter, Jim Keeling of Newbern and an original bicentennial commemorative quilt made by the Sewing Room of Hornbeak.
State naturalist David Haggard is chairman of the bicentennial committee and has been overseeing progress on all the bicentennial events.
The committee has been selling bicentennial duck bands, T-shirts and caps during the past few months and has raised around $2,000, according to Haggard. Lexie Leonard’s historic book, “Reelfoot Treasures,” is also being reprinted and copies will soon be made available for $10 each, according to Haggard. He said the committee hopes to be able to reprint about 1,000 copies of the book.
The Leonard book is one of several historic books dealing with Reelfoot Lake being considered for reprinting by the committee.
The bicentennial committee is also selling postcards featuring 12 images from the Verne and Nonie Rhoads Sabin photo collection. Already more than $100 has been raised from those sales. The postcards are being offered for 50 cents each.
Haggard said he is also negotiating with the Obion County Museum in Union City to possibly borrow the museum’s Sabin photo exhibit, “A Time Returned: 1919-1924.”
He said he would like to set the Sabin exhibit up in Ellington Hall in February 2012.
If it works out, the Sabin exhibit would be one of three major exhibits set up in Ellington Hall that month, according to Haggard.
The bicentennial committee has also booked a steamboat exhibit from Hanover College in Illinois. The steamboat exhibit is a 19-panel display that will be set up in Ellington Hall through the month of February.
A third exhibit, focusing on the 75th anniversary of the Tennessee State Parks System, will also be set up in Ellington Hall in February.
There are several other major events being planned in January and February as part of the bicentennial celebration.
A special exhibit focusing on the history of Reelfoot Lake will be on display at the Obion County Public Library January through February.
A History Day has been scheduled for Jan. 28 at Ellington Hall and the annual Eagle Fest is set for Feb. 3-5 at the Reelfoot Lake Visitors Center. The History Day will serve as an opportunity for area residents to bring in their historic images of Reelfoot Lake and have them scanned by park officials. The History Day will also feature special presentations from historians, including a program on the importance of Island No. 10 in Civil War history.
Haggard is also putting the finishing touches on his series of weekend programs scheduled from January through March, which is the peak of the eagle watching season. He said a third of the programs will feature speakers discussing the history of Reelfoot Lake.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at

Published in The Messenger 11.4.11

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