Before an assemblage of festival organizers, Dade County Executive Chairman Ted Rumley reads a proclamation at Thursday night's county commission meeting declaring May Dade Festival of Life and Bobby Bradford month.
Dade County Executive Ted Rumley began Thursday night's regular monthly meeting of the county commission by declaring May "Dade Festival of Life and Bobby Bradford Month," and Dade Public Library manager Marshana Sharp followed up by announcing the health fair the library is adding to this year's festival, paying for it with part of the prize money it was awarded when named one of Library Journals three best small-town libraries in America. T-shirted festival supporters from all over the community crowded the meeting to hear the proclamation read, and out in the lobby waited a "Paint the Town Purple" cake, crafted by Bo Patterson, complete with purple paint can and brush.
In Dade County, the Festival of LIfe is a very big deal indeed, not just a big event that the community pulls together for once a year but a symbol of the smaller ways it pulls together to take care of its own every day.
The Festival of Life began in 2014 as a fundraiser for Dade cancer patient Kelly Moore. Organizer Diane Rumley had previously spearheaded Dade's participation in American Cancer Society fund drives. Her idea with the Festival of Life was to bring the effort up close and personal, to focus on helping sick neighbors as opposed to "supporting research" or "fighting against disease" in general. Which was, after all, a formalization of Dade's friendly country tradition from time immemorial.
Kelly Moore died in September 2014, but speaking at the commission meeting on Thursday, festival supporter Mary Bailey said Ms. Moore had made her promise that the event would go on to aid others. It has, and this year, the festival is in benefit of Dade resident and cystic fibrosis sufferer Bobby Bradford, who is recovering from a double lung transplant. His mother reported at the meeting that the 26-year-old was "blown away" by the efforts in his honor: "Mom, they're doing that for me?"
The festival is on Saturday, May 21, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and this year is moving from Lookout Mountain to the Trenton town square. The library-sponsored health fair will spill outdoors to join it.
Admittance is free though there were will be ample opportunities to donate. The lineup includes music, food, a quilt raffle, door prizes and other family fun. The associated health fair includes free bone density and blood pressure screening, and the Mary Ellen Locher Breast Center "mammogram-mobile" will also be on hand. Mammogram screeners will accept your insurance card but if you're not covered that's OK, too, say organizers.
To make a mammogram appointment ahead of time, readers may call CHI Memorial at (423) 495-4040 or (866) 591-2254.