The Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival Auxiliary met June 22 at the Webster County Library. President Jeanette Alcorn opened the meeting at 11 a.m., and festival organizer Nicholas Inman led in prayer. Secretary Carol Fuller read the minutes from the last meeting, held on Mar. 23. Treasurer Jeannie Moreno read the treasurer’s report.
Nicholas Inman announced that Chef Mesnier was unable to teach his demonstration class during the festival since he fell ill. All class tickets were refunded. A motion was passed to excuse his reimbursement of airfare.
Sarah Inman gave the Helen Jackson Scholarship Report. She said an application was written up and supplied to Niangua High School. However, there were no applicants this year. She said the funds will be held over for a second scholarship to be offered next year, and she hopes to promote it more. The scholarship was designated for a Niangua High School graduate since Jackson, the last Civil War widow, is from Niangua and attended Niangua High School. The scholarship committee was Inman and Cheri Colson.
Alcorn said about the festival, “I want to thank everyone for their hard work, especially those who worked at the teacher’s breakfast. I know that was a lot of work.” She said 92 teachers attended the breakfast, including some who taught at one-room schools in the area. Kami Cotler (Elizabeth, “The Waltons”) was the breakfast speaker. She serves as a principal in Los Angeles.
Nicholas Inman gave the festival report. He brought historian Martha Faulkner a Marshfield Mail newspaper, an invitation to Margaret Kerry’s 90th birthday party, a signed photo of Helen Jackson, and an invitation to the teacher’s breakfast to place in the auxiliary scrapbook.
Inman said he considered the festival this year to be “very successful,” drawing “all kinds of interest.” He was worried about moving the autograph show to the Marshfield Community Center from its former location at the Marshfield Assembly of God, but he said his worries were laid to rest when he saw a “line down Highway A” on the first day of the show. Inman credited Richard LaMotte with handling the autograph show, and they will be working together on it next year as well. Inman said it was successful in part due to several cast members from both “Little House on the Prairie” and “The Waltons,” including Richard Thomas (John Boy Walton), who attended for the first time. Group pictures with the cast of either show could be reserved. Next year, he will be looking for cast members from another classic television show to be included. The autograph show has been titled the Nostalgia Fest Autograph Show.
Inman presented a bill to the Auxiliary for the rental of the Young Community Auditorium for the Garst History Convocation, and it was approved.
Besides the loss of Chef Mesnier’s class, there was one other last-minute change. Ginger Alden (Elvis Presley’s fiancee) was drawn away with a family emergency, so the Cherry Blossom Tea was forced to change its guest of honor at the Cherry Blossom Tea. Chris Noel and Diana Goodman McDaniel stepped in to substitute as they both knew Elvis. Thank you to the tea committee for all of their hard work!
A couple of Inman’s favorite moments from the festival were when Margaret Kerry performed at her own party on April 25, and Clifton Daniel’s portrayal of President Truman in “Give ’Em Hell, Harry!”
About the festival, he said, “This is a weekend where we’re peaceful. We celebrate what unites us and not what divides us.”
Inman said he already has a few ideas for next year’s festival, after his recent trip to Europe with his family to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion.
“They saved the world,” he said of the WWII veterans. “I think we should remember them with a memorial.”
The “International Peace and History Memorial” would tie into the festival’s mission of teaching about war and peace. He has already received the support of Mary Eisenhower for the project.
“I think it could be really moving,” he said.
Inman hopes it would be a place where festival events could be held, as well as an attraction that would draw visitors all year long. Ideally, he hopes such a memorial could be dedicated next year.
Inman moved that the Auxiliary adopt this project — which would memorialize all U.S. wars from the 20th and 21st centuries — and it was approved unanimously by the membership.
Carol Fuller gave a report on the Quilt Show. She said there were few quilts included, and she and Ruthie Davis were the volunteers. Therefore, Fuller made a motion to allow Davis to ask other groups to include their quilts in the annual show. She said they already have interest from one group. The motion passed.
Alcorn made another motion to combine the Quilt Show, Pink Dress Exhibit (for Breast Cancer Awareness) and festival merchandise table and to hold them in the Marshfield Assembly of God nursery area at the next festival. Funds were also set aside for a banner advertising the event. The motion was approved.
Inman said another of his favorite memories from this year’s festival was Richard Thomas reading a book he’d brought from his son’s bookshelf to a Marshfield fifth-grade class.
“I think it’s nice that our guests go into the schools,” he said.
Guest accommodations were also discussed, as well as tour buses for future festivals. It was discussed to sponsor the festival’s membership in the American Bus Association.
The next meeting will be held on Sept. 28 at 11 a.m., when new officers will be elected, and dues will be collected for the 2020 festival season. The 2020 festival will be the 15th Cherry Blossom Festival in Marshfield.