Still time to celebrate mayhaws

Published 8:33 pm Friday, May 18, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange leader


Stark Mayhaw Festival’s last day may be Saturday but is packed full of fun and excitement.

The grounds open at 8 a.m. with free biscuit ad jelly during a home-churned butter demonstration as well as a demonstration on making Mayhaw Jelly.

Festival grounds are located at intersection of Hwy. 109 and Hwy. 12 in Starks, Louisiana.

Starks Business and Civic Association, Inc., a non-profit association, hosts the event, now in it’s 26th year.

The first festival was held May 13, 1993. It was only a one-day festival but enjoyed much success. The festival has grown to a three-day festival and is held the 3rd week-end in May.

The Mayhaw Festival hosts a Queen’s Pageant and each year the Starks Mayhaw Festival Queen competes in the Louisiana Fairs and Festivals Queen of Queens Pageant.

This year Queens are Starks Mayhaw Festival Queen Jaylin Martinez, Deb Miss Mayhaw Queen Betsey McIntyre, Jr Miss Mayhaw Queen Katelynn Morris, and Pre-Teen Miss Queen Hadlee Mazilly.

The association hopes this festival will continue to bring people together. It is the desire of the association to provide a positive image of Starks, help other non-profit groups raise money for their projects, and to bring all the residents of Starks together, according to its website.

The Celebration theme for this year’s festival is ‘Catch a wave at the Starks Mayhaw Festival’. It features arts and crafts, live entertainment, food, Jelly Contest, live auction, car show, kids games and carnival rides.

No alcoholic beverages are allowed on fairgrounds. Animals are not allowed on fairways or in booths except those trained to help the visually or hearing impaired. No firearms allowed on festival grounds, except those in the control of security or law enforcement.

Mayhaw is a wild native fruit tree found along river bottoms and swamps from the Trinity River of Texas, east to Georgia and Florida, and throughout Louisiana. Although the tree is naturally found in wet, shady sites, it is well adapted to drier, better-drained land and produces more and better fruit in full sunlight. The trees are long-lived and can produce fruit for more than 50 years. They are more resistant to disease and can withstand low temperatures better than common fruit trees. LSU AgCenter research scientists at Calhoun are testing pesticides to find one that is effective in Mayhaw production.