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With the sound of the rushing Nolin River in the background, parade watchers huddled beneath umbrellas and tree cover to shield themselves from the sprinkling of rain Saturday morning at White Mills Christian Camp.
According to attendees, it was the first time White Mills Days was plagued with rain since the summer festival moved to the campsite nearly 15 years ago. However, the precipitation did not stop festivities Saturday.
“We don’t let rain bother us,” said Sharon Lindsey, a resident of White Mills for 46 years.
Lindsey said she comes to White Mills Days every year because “there is nothing like it.”
“Everybody comes home,” she said. “You’re with family and friends you haven’t seen for a long time.”
Kenneta Daynes, who waited for the parade Saturday with Lindsey, said she waits twice a year for “White Mills chicken.”
Asked what was unique about the barbecue chicken dinner, she recalled when the annual festival was held on the other side of the White Mills bridge, cooks barbecued the chicken at the camp. The wind wafted the barbecue smell across the bridge to where attendees waited for the parade, she said.
Jane Link, treasurer of White Mills Civic League, said the kitchen sells out of the chicken dinners every year. Money raised goes back into the town, she said, as the Civic League supports the White Mills Volunteer Fire Department and community projects such as the youth soccer program.
The town has hosted the summertime event since 1975, Link said, and it always has drawn old friends, family and neighbors who have long since moved away back to White Mills.
“I think it’s the community,” she said when asked why White Mills brings former residents home.
Summit resident Herbert Hart attended Lynnvale Elementary School and would bring his children to White Mills to play ball, and every year, he brings his 8-year-old grandson, Hunter, to watch the parade and play games.
“I went to school here eight years, so it’s a part of me,” Hart said.
Hart enjoys watching the parade with his grandson, the atmosphere of the bridge and the Nolin River and being a part of the community, he said.
“It’s just everything in general,” he said.
Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.