Rooster Boosters make Rooster Day possible (gallery)

Thanks to the crew at Soggy Bottom Lodge for supporting Rooster Day! Pictured with Brewster the Rooster are: Ashley Dunn, Alstin Spence, Grant Stevens, Joselin Soto, Gabby Lewis, Auxi Cueva, and Magdelina Galvin.

Thank you SVH Bistro and Spectacular Vine and Hoof for being Rooster Boosters! Look for their donations of a case of great wines and a $50 gift certificate to SVJH Bistro in the silent auction! Thank you Mike and Susan Grayson and Lauren Barton for your support! Pictured with Brewster are Lauren Barton and Susan Grayson.

The youth group at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church decided to have some fun and support the local community. They worked to raise money to become Rooster Boosters and
to fund youth activities. Thank you to the youth group and all the youth group sponsors! Pictured front row left to right: Sarah Helms, Madelyn Brooker, Phillip Akins, Jonathon Helms (kneeling), Banks Compton, Jacob Boland, Alyssa Martinez, Casey Trusler (youth leader) and Attisyn Trusler. Second row left to right: Nicholas Helms, Julian Guerro, Audrey Boykin, George Miranda, Yesenia Guerro, Kelsei Elmor, Avery Schumacher, Alexa Martinez and Emily Helms.

Thank you Copeland Machine Shop for being a Rooster Booster! Look for Russell Copeland and his crew in the Public Square on Rooster Day as they cook up jumbo smoked turkey legs and chicken lollipops! Pictured are: Allen Greene, Rob Farnham, Adam Hildreth, Jimmie Copeland, and Russell Copeland.

Thank you to Bill and Melanie York for supporting Rooster Day! If you drive out Highway 80 East toward Gallion/Faunsdale, be sure to wave at Brewster while he is hanging out at the York Ranch! Pictured: Melanie York and Brewster the Rooster.

Thank you Perfect Touch for being a Red Ribbon Rooster Booster! With your help, Rooster Day is lookin’ good! Pictured with Brewster the Rooster are Harley Johnston, Carson Griffith and Kara Roar.

Thank you to Skibo Holeman and the crew at Genesis Rehab for helping Brewster the Rooster raise funds! The Genesis Rehab Rooster Boosters are: Jana Upchurch, Don Sprewell, Daniel Lagrone, Skibo Holman and Riley Quinney.

Thank you to Marengo Insurance Agency and Jay Reynolds for being a Rooster Booster! Come to the Rooster Auction April 8 and bid on a 2-gun quail hunt donated by Marengo Insurance Agency. It is an extraordinary hunting trip that avid bird hunters will love. Pictured with Brewster the Rooster are India Hall, Shaelin Jones, and Jay Reynolds.

Thank you to The Canebakery and Andi Turberville for being a Rooster Booster! Be sure to bid on the Painting and Cakes item at the Rooster Auction! Its a painting class with Kirk Brooker for 16 potential artists. The Canebakery will provide a masterpiece cake or cupcakes. With these two in the lead, the class is bound to be hilarious fun. Share some great treats and great fun and create your own masterpiece! Pictured with Brewster the Rooster are Slater Brock, Cooper Boggs, Andi Turberville and Kirk Brooker.

Thank you to Canebrake Cabinet Company for being a Rooster Booster! Come see their booth in the Public Square on Rooster Day. You will find amazing and original hand crafted furniture like these chairs and side tables that were carved from a tree that had been struck by lightening. Canebrake Cabinet Company will also offer a different style of furniture in the Live Auction during the nighttime Rooster Auction. Come to Lyon Hall to bid on a classic two-drawer writing desk made from maple wood with gold leaf beaded inlays and a piano finish. A sister piece recently sold for more than $3,000. Thank you to Eldridge Pettis and Canebrake Cabinet Company for being a Rooster Booster!

Every once in a while a hard working bird gets achy, so Brewster the Rooster went to Pampered Kneads for a little pampering and massage therapy. Thank you Audrey Yeager and Pampered Kneads for being a Rooster Booster!

Thank you Firefly Boutique for being a Red Ribbon Rooster Booster! We hope all the kids buying precious children’s clothing from Firefly Boutique will run on down to Rooster Day on April 8 to play in the Coop Games and see the petting zoo!

Thank you to Doric South for being a Rooster Booster! Pictured with Brewster the Rooster are Doric South owner Larry Turberville and his best friend Rowdy.

Thank you to Windham Motor Company for Being a Rooster Booster! Brewster enjoyed test driving all the Chevrolets!

Look in the Rooster Day silent auction for two wool area rugs donated by French Quarter Market. Brewster the Rooster stopped by the store in downtown Demopolis to help pick out the rugs! Thank you French Quarter Market for being a Rooster Booster. Pictured with Brewster is store owner Thomas Bell.

Thank you to Longworth Antiques & Marketplace for being a Rooster Booster. Please visit this new store in downtown Demopolis. It is truly a special place!

Thanks to H&R Block for being a Red Ribbon Rooster Booster! Drop your tax papers at the H&R Block office on Rooster Day for $25 off tax preparation fees and take a spin on the prize wheel. Pictured with Brewster the Rooster are Vickie Cannon, Angela Meggs, Rebecca Stapleton and Matt DeLapp.

Thank you to Gaddy Electric and Plumbing for being a Red Ribbon Rooster Booster! Rooster Day would be lost without you! Thanks to the whole crew including (pictured L to r): Tommy Hewitt, Savino Galvan, Jeff Smedley, Trevor Carter, Wayne Cross, Earnest “Tail Feather” Brooks, Richard Rawls, Johnny Carter, Hunter Smyly, Jonathan Lewis, and Richard Todd

Demopolis Rooster Day to end with evening auction

“And the next item up for bid…”

The words used may not be those exactly, but bidders will hear something similar as they gather at Lyon Hall the evening of April 8 to conclude the second annual Rooster Day.

The event began last year to commemorate the infamous Rooster Auction held in Demopolis in 1917 to raise money to build a bridge between Sumter and Marengo counties. The bridge was the last gap in the Dixie Overland Highway stretching from Savannah, Ga., to San Diego, Calif., now U.S. Highway 80.

The modern celebration is a fund-raiser for the Marengo County Historical Society to help pay for the upkeep of its two historic homes and sponsor events throughout the year.

Lyon Hall, one of the two homes, will be the site for both a silent and a live auction with scores of items to tempt bidders. Admission to the event is $15, and heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for guests to gather. Bidding on silent auction donations by individuals and businesses in the community will be from 7-8 p.m.

Among them are a case of wine, wool area rugs, a handmade rustic barnwood mini bar, a farmhouse table, chalk-painting party for up to 10 people, coolers, local services, and assorted rooster-themed items such as a stained-glass sun catcher, planter and hand-carved cutting boards.

After the winners of the silent auction are announced, the live auction kicks off at 8:30 p.m. Several hunting trips are up for bid. Sportsmen can choose from trips that offer deer, hogs, turkeys or quail. Skeet shooting lessons for six also will be offered.

For those who prefer more quiet pursuits, the auction has a stay at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, a Gulf Shores condo, painting class for 16 with cupcakes included, a catered party and a dinner at Sherrod Forest. A hand-crafted desk is yet another exclusive item offered to bidders.

This year those who cannot be on hand to bid for items in person may place their bids on line. Information on how to take part in distance bidding can be found at www.roosterdaydemopolis.com.

Once the bidding is over, guests can enjoy listening and dancing to the music of the Rexton Lee Band, an Alabama country/party band from Alexander City, as is performs on the Foster Farms Fowl Play Stage.

There’s a new rooster in town

Shown with Col. Bridges are (from left) John Scales, Sheryl Cunningham, Barbara Blevins, Woody Collins, Rachel Walker and Lane Averett. (WAW | Jan McDonald)

When the big bird appeared on the scene, he caused a lot of open-mouthed stares, a grin or two and some outright chuckles.

The 22-foot rooster quickly has become one of the most photographed sights in Demopolis, with families posing children in front of him and friends posting his picture on social media.

Located at the corner of U.S. Hwy. 80 E and South Cedar Street, the rooster is the latest symbol of Rooster Day. The second annual event celebrating the infamous Rooster Auction in 1919 will be held April 8 in the Public Square.

The notion for the two-story bird began shortly after the inaugural Rooster Day in 2016. John Scales first thought of a large display, and he and Woody Collins knocked around some ideas.

At first they envisioned a lighted rooster on a metal frame, but when they consulted Barbara Blevins, director of the Demopolis Horticulture Department, “she told us what we needed to build,” said Scales.

Blevins, Collins and Scales became friends when the two men served on the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce board and often worked with Blevins. Whenever the Chamber needed something, she would come up with the solution. In exchange, Collins Communications provides the sound system at no charge to various city functions.

After the rooster was designed came the fun of building it.

Rachel Walker, who has worked with Blevins for about six months, said creating the bird was more “play by ear” that any structured plan.

Blevins and her crew salvaged materials to make the framework from old Christmas light pole decorations that had been damaged. The only item that had to be purchased – with Collins’ help – was threaded pipe.

The frame is covered with Dacron used to repair airplane wings. Blevins said she had some left over from decorations used during Christmas on the River. Landscape fabric forms the tail that ruffles in the wind, a project Walker did whenever she had time.

Construction took about two months with all of Blevins’ crew lending a hand during lunch breaks or after hours.

The biggest challenge was mounting the rooster on the flatbed trailer. The crew discovered that, as originally constructed, the bird was too tall to transport. It wouldn’t fit under utility lines that crossed the streets. The rooster’s feet had to be sacrificed. Even with no feet, it still took some effort to get the unwieldy fowl into place.

To keep the structure stable, the legs are set over 10-foot pipes mounted on the trailer, and then it is held in place with guy wires.

From the time the rooster went up people have talked about it.

There have been a lot of good comments, said Blevins.

“I have not heard anything but complements,” added Collins.

The Rooster Day Committee held a name-the-rooster contest, and it drew 71 entries. On March 8 the tall bird officially became known as Col. “Cold Cock” Bridges.

Col. Bridges will travel to the Public Square for Rooster Day to add even more fun to the day’s activities.

Clee Compton: The Rooster Wrangler

Clee Compton, around 1919. (WAW | Contributed)

As roosters arrived in Demopolis for the famous Rooster Auction in 1919, organizers realized they had to have someplace to put them and someone to care for them.

They thought immediately of Clee Compton.

Compton had his own roosters that he kept on his property near the Public Square, the site of the two-day auction. In fact it was his rooster “Bob Jones” that became the symbol not only for the auction but for the celebration of the event almost 100 years later.

The second annual Rooster Day will be held in Demopolis April 8. Sponsored by the Marengo County Historical Society (MCHS), Rooster Day will start off with a 5K run, offer booths featuring the works of artists and craftsmen, provide entertainment and demonstrations on the event stage and feature a section for children’s games and activities.

The day will continue into the evening with a silent and live auction at Lyon Hall, one of the historic homes maintained by the MCHS.

Funds raised at Rooster Day will be used for the upkeep of the group’s two historic homes and for its other activities during the year.

The Rooster Auction, the brainchild of Frank I. Derby of Sumter County, was held to raise money to build a bridge across the Tombigbee River. The lack of a bridge was the only thing holding up a cross-country highway between Savannah and San Diego, what is now U.S. Highway 80.

Compton’s own roosters took part in cock-fighting, which was then both popular and legal, said his daughter, Putt Perry. An abandoned cock pit, what Perry calls a chicken house, still sits on the Compton Family property.

Bob Jones, held by Clee Compton. (WAW | Contributed)

Perry relishes her father’s stories of the auction, “the biggest thing that ever happened around Demopolis,” he told her. “It was one thing the whole city could enjoy.”

The same can be said of the modern event commemorating the auction.

At the time of the auction, Perry said, her father was a popular 35-year-old bachelor in town. He didn’t marry for another seven years. His wife, Margarete Pritchett, was 22 years his junior. Perry was the youngest of their children and named for her mother. An uncle gave her the nickname.

As Perry recalls, her dad said he didn’t have a lot of time to attend the auction. He was busy feeding and watering the eight or 10 roosters. Since they were sold more than once at the fund-raiser, he had to tote them back and forth from his home to the site of the auction.

His own Bob Jones, the rooster officially donated by President Woodrow Wilson, was chosen because of its brilliant black and red plumage, said Perry. The postcards and buttons advertising the auction were printed in black and white, but Compton said the full color photo was used on banners and other displays.

It is Compton’s hand holding Bob Jones in the photo on the postcard taken by Demopolis photographer Sixty Williamson.

Compton also was one of the small army of men who prepared what at that time was the largest barbecue in Alabama, Perry continued. Although he exaggerated, he told his daughter the barbecue pit was “a quarter mile long.”

Clee Compton. (WAW | Contributed)

The men dug the pit, lined the sides of it with coals, places rods and chicken wire across it and laid whole hogs on top. It took all night and half the next day to barbecue the meat. The men constantly basted the hogs with a mixture of salt, pepper and vinegar and fed the coals.

Another group prepared the gallons of barbecue sauce to serve with the meat.

Thousands of people flooded into the city for the auction. Most came by boat and by train since the roads at that time weren’t kind to cars. Even the state legislature moved to Demopolis for the event.

All those people had to sleep somewhere, and the city had only one hotel. Compton told his daughter that many residents took people into their homes, and other visitors slept on sofas or in their cars.

For more information on events or how to participate in Rooster Day activities, visit roosterdaydemopolis.com.

Rooster Day returns to Demopolis April 8

Rooster Day returns April 8, promising more activities, more artisans and craftsmen, more silent and live auction items, more music and more fun for the whole family.

The Marengo County Historical Society fund-raiser started last year in hopes of raising money to help preserve the group’s historic homes and pay for the society’s activities during the year.

What organizers didn’t expect was the enthusiastic embrace by Demopolis area residents who found the idea appealed to their sense of humor.

Scores of volunteers stepped up to help plan and carry out the event. This year the number may grow into the hundreds who are pitching in to make the day successful.

“We are trying to keep Rooster Day exciting by adding something new each year,” said Lisa Compton, chairman. “We want to involve everyone because Rooster Day truly is a community event.”

Brewster the Rooster, a six-foot chicken advertising Rooster Day, is again making visits to area businesses that sign up to become Rooster Boosters. The idea caught on last year and proved so popular that supporters are lining up to have the feathered friend visit their places of business for a few days.

Brewster is being joined by his very big brother. A 20-foot rooster sits at the intersection of Cedar Street and U.S. Highway 80 East welcoming visitors to the city.

Built by the employees of the Demopolis horticulture department, the colorful two-story bird now is the subject of a Name that Rooster contest which ends March 8. Anyone who wants to enter can go to the Rooster Day website at <roosterdaydemopolis.com>.

Barbara Blevins and her crew will move the big bird to the Public Square, the site of the Rooster Day activities, for the event.

School groups, athletic teams and friends coming together to add their talents to promote Rooster Day and encourage its success. “We are also encouraging clubs and groups to partner with Brewster the Rooster for fundraising,” Compton continued. Already the Demopolis High School cross country team and the local Eastern Star Chapter of the Masonic Lodge had Brewster helping their special events.

“We have added more publicity for businesses in the form of website advertising for businesses offering any kind of Rooster Day special,” said Compton. Business owners who have special promotions or offer coupons in association with Rooster Day can be post them on the Rooster Day website.

The Cock’s Crow Run, a 5K race that kicks off Rooster Day, is adding a little something extra this year for the whole family. To encourage entrants to pick up their race packets early, a one-mile Fun Run will be held the night before.

After the Fun Run, an outdoor movie will be shown and hot dogs will be provided for the families that attend. There is no charge for the Fun Run.

The Cock’s Crow Run begins at 8 a.m. on Rooster Day. Entertainment on the festival stage will keep non-runners entertained while the race is going on.

Instead of door prizes, entrants will be signed up to take part in a draw-down.  All runners get a ticket with their packet that could win a cash prize of $150. Information and entry forms for the 5K are on the Rooster Day website.

The Public Square will be filled with activities beginning at 9 a.m. Booths will be set up for Alabama artists and craftsmen to show and sell their wares. Local restaurants and organizations will offer food for those attending the festival.

A large section of the park will be devoted to activities for children, including a petting zoo, crafts, games and a rope bridge constructed by Boy Scout Troop 41.

Musical acts and demonstrations will be part of the entertainment on the festival stage during the day until the fair closes at 4 p.m. If weather permits, the 4H Chick Chain will demonstrate how to wash and blow-dry chickens for competition.

Once the downtown events end, however, Rooster Day continues with the Rooster Auction at Lyon Hall, one of the home museums maintained by the MCHS. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for the event that will feature both silent and live auctions.

Interspersed with the auction will be music by the Rexton Lee Band on the Foster Farms Fowl Play Stage. Music and dancing will continue until 11 p.m.

Compton encouraged anyone who wants to become a Rooster Booster or ask questions about any of the activities to log on to the Rooster Day website.

“I hope everyone will support and come out to enjoy this unique event that makes our region special,” she said.

For more information on Rooster Day, visit the website or call Compton at 251-510-0582.

Rooster Day returning to Demopolis April 8

 

MedCenter – Demopolis is the first Rooster Booster of 2017. From left, Neshia Steele, Amie Moody, Rachel Wallace, Madison Davidson, Megan Smedley, Malorie Langham, Arlesia Jones and Lolly McAbee with Brewster the Rooster. (WAW | Jan McDonald)

The Roosters are coming—again!

Riding on the success of the inaugural Rooster Day, plans are underway for the second annual event to be held Saturday, April 8.

The day-long affair marks the famous Rooster Auction held in the city in August of 1919. The purpose of the auction was to raise money for a bridge across the Tombigbee River connecting Marengo and Sumter counties and creating a roadway, now known as U.S. Highway 80, to stretch across the continent from Savannah to San Diego.

MedCenter – Demopolis became the first official Rooster Booster for the 2017 event. “Brewster the Rooster” made his first visit of the year to MedCenter – Demopolis this week.  More sponsors are lining up to become Rooster Boosters so Brewster can be displayed at their place of business as the city gets ready for a day of fun-filled activities.

Sponsored by the Marengo County Historical Society (MCHS), Rooster Day is held to raise funds for the upkeep of the society’s historic homes and for the programs and activities it holds during the year.

The MCHS board of directors and volunteers are working hard on Rooster Day 2017,” said Martha Turner, MCHS president.

“Last year’s event was so much fun, and the crowds exceeded our expectations,” said Turner. The first Rooster Day was so well received that the group is building on “providing a family friendly, fun day for this year.”

Many of the same events are returning this year, only bigger and better. Again, the day will begin with the Cock’s Crow Run. The 2017 version has a new 5K route, and entertainment will be provided on the stage next to the starting point.

Runners who want to pick up their race packets early can come on Friday night, bring the children and take part in a one-mile Fun Run. There will even be an outdoor movie for the kids.

With the goal in mind of encouraging local artisans and craftsmen, Rooster Day will have booths set up in the Public Square featuring the work of Alabama artists. All work is handmade and one-of-a-kind.

Adjacent to the booths will be Coop Games, a large children’s area with games, crafts and a petting zoo. At the same time demonstrations and entertainment will be on the Rooster Day stage. If weather permits, the 4H Chick Chain participants will demonstrate how to bathe a chicken.

Rooster Day continues that night with a live and silent auction on the grounds of Lyon Hall. Live music will entertain those attending the event.

Foster Farms, which has a corn dog-producing plant in Demopolis, is sponsoring the auction stage. It has been named in honor of the business and will be called Foster Farms Fowl Play.

The forms for the 5K Run and vendor applications as well as more information on Rooster Day can be found on the website, www.roosterdaydemopolis.com.

Rooster Day provides needed repairs at Lyon Hall

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Thanks to proceeds from a successful Rooster Day in April, the Marengo County Historical Society has been able to make several much-needed repairs to Lyon Hall.

The inaugural 2016 Rooster Day enabled the MCHS to replace the roof of the concrete-block building on the grounds. The old roof was damaged beyond repair by strong winds, age and fallen tree-limbs and was at risk of more significant damage.

Other projects recently completed include repairs and painting to the decking of the back porch and ramp, as well as the nursery porch. The plaster ceiling of the east side porch also was repaired.

Shutter repair and painting on the east side of Lyon Hall, as well as repairs and painting to the east porch were also completed. Damaged shutters have been removed from Lyon Hall, and will be carefully restored.

Bluff Hall, another of the historic home owned and operated by the MCHS, soon will get much-needed repairs to its south side porch, the original porte cochere.

“It is sometimes difficult to show people all the work we are doing, because structural repairs are often not visible,” said MCHS president John Laney, “but they are critical for preserving these homes.”

Ronnie O’Neil, who chairs the MCHS building committee, said some immediate cosmetic repairs are being made so that Lyon Hall will be more attractive to rent out for events.

MCHS Operations Director Kirk Brooker added, “Lyon Hall is an amazing venue for weddings, receptions, and other gatherings not only because of its historical significance, but also because the layout flows well for entertaining large crowds.

“We hope to increase rental of Lyon Hall this year, which generates much-needed revenue for maintaining the house and introduces our historic homes to more people,” Brooker continued. “This is a target growth area for us.”

Much more remains to be done at both Lyon Hall and Bluff Hall. Those who would like to donate labor or funding may contact the MCHS (334) 289-0282 or get in touch by email at marengohistory@bellsouth.net. MCHS is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

To learn more about volunteering or attending Rooster Day, a major fundraising event that supports these endeavors, please visit http://www.roosterdaydemopolis.com.

Organizers with much to crow about following inaugural Rooster Day

Although the phrase has been overused recently, Demopolis really has something to crow about. By all standards the inaugural Rooster Day April 9 was a rousing success.

From the Cock’s Crow 5K run to start the day through the auction and dancing under the stars at Lyon Hall that night, more than a thousand people enjoyed all things fowl.

The event did far more than raise funds to help preserve Lyon Hall and Bluff Hall, said Lisa Compton, chairman of the event. “It promoted tourism, area businesses, regional artists, the downtown neighborhood, our heritage and our sense of community.”

Calling the first Rooster Day “a success beyond our dreams,” Compton said attendance at all events far exceeded expectations.

“There were very few problems, especially for a first-time event,” she said.  “I heard loads of great feedback and enthusiastic support.”

Receipts and expenses still are being tallied, but initial estimates of proceeds to benefit the Marengo County Historical Society “is north of $30,000,” Compton said.

Those funds will go a long way toward repairs to Bluff Hall and Lyon Hall, the two house museums owned and operated by the Historical Society.

Cynthia Phillips, who chaired the Cock’s Crow Run, said 100 race participants were expected; 160 registered. Winning the race was “Baja” Fultz with a time of 19:47.

But many of those taking part weren’t looking for best times, just for the fun of the run. The Reading Club members donned headpieces designed as blue hens. Others took advantage of rooster headbands created by students at Demopolis High School and joined in the playful mood of the day.

A host of children’s activities, set up by Angela Schumacher and Amanda Smith, had kids lining up for the Pony Tales Petting Zoo, jumping on the inflatable, balancing eggs on their heads through an obstacle course, corn hole competition and arts and crafts.

Artisans and craftsmen lined Public Square sidewalks to offer their work for visitors to Rooster Day. Painting and photography, metal work and woodcraft, soap and honey, decorative painting on glass and basket weaving drew admiring patrons.

The Craft Corner, run by the MCHS, had samples of its wares for sale. Food vendors offered chicken salad lunches, Brunswick stew, barbecued chicken, hot dogs and pastries.

Several mascots roamed the Square. Bucky the Beaver came with the U.S. Coast Guard display. The Pizza Man from Little Caesar’s drew Kayte Melton’s name for a year’s worth of free pizza.

Special guest was Rocco the Rooster from Auburn University’s School of Poultry Science who taught children and adults alike how to do the Chicken Dance.

The county 4-H Club displayed their prize-winning chickens. The Demopolis school system’s robotics team gave a demonstration, and singers and dancers entertained on the stage set up in Public Square.

Capping off the day was the live and silent auction held at Lyon Hall, where laughter and good-natured bidding brought in more funds for the cause. Chairman Diane Brooker said the auction should clear about $15,000 after expenses.

Woodrow the Rooster, named for President Woodrow Wilson, was the first item up for bid. When the winner elected to take a painting of a rooster instead of the bird, Woodrow was auctioned again.

Helen, the Blue Hen, namesake of Helen Keller, also was for sale. The bird made its own donation to the items for bid by laying an egg just before the auction started.

Other live auction items included hunting trips, a stay at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, a party at the historic Webb home, wine and cheese tasting and art classes with cupcakes included.

Brooker praised Amanda Hall and Katharine Glass for setting up the dozens of silent auction items inside Lyon Hall, and Betsy Stephens and her committee provided the food. Leah Akins arranged for the Elijah Butler Band to provide the entertainment.

“It takes a committee to pull something off like this,” said Brooker. “It was so much fun to be a part of such an exciting event which brought true happiness and enthusiasm to our community.”

As an added benefit, she continued, “we raised funds to get some much needed work done on the historic properties. These properties bring many guests to our town and we need to continue to work to get more done.”

“It is overwhelming and heartwarming to see how this community has risen as a group to support Rooster Day and each other,” said Compton.

Her committee plans a follow-up meeting within the week to review events and begin plans for 2017.

Numerous big ticket items available at tonight’s Rooster Auction

"Woodrow," the rooster.

“Woodrow,” the rooster.

When the first Rooster Auction was held in Demopolis in 1919 to build a bridge across the Tombigbee River, the event stretched over two days and involved thousands of people.

The inaugural Rooster Day April 9 will commemorate that first event, but more than roosters will be up for bid. This year, instead of a bridge, the Marengo County Historical Society is holding an auction to make needed repairs on its two historical home, Bluff Hall and Lyon Hall.

To close a full day of activities doors at Lyon Hall will open at 6 p.m. for ticket holders to have a fun evening of bidding on both big and small ticket items, dancing and enjoying good food. Entry fee is $15, and bidding begins at 7 p.m.

Brewster the Rooster walking stick.

Brewster the Rooster walking stick.

No Rooster Auction would be complete without having a rooster to auction. A full bred Americana rooster, raised by Ken Gilliam of Gordo, will be the first item up for live auction.

The rooster is named “Woodrow” in honor of President Woodrow Wilson who donated a rooster for the 1919 auction. The winner has the choice of accepting Woodrow or a rooster painting by Kirk Brooker.

At the first Rooster Auction, Helen Keller donated a Little Blue Hen for bid. Auction chairman Diane Brooker has lined up a Blue Hen for this year’s event as well.

Being a part of Rooster Day “has been one of the most exciting events I’ve ever worked on because the enthusiasm has been so great from everyone involved,” she said.

Marengo Box designed by Demopolis native Mark Abrams.

Marengo Box designed by Demopolis native Mark Abrams.

More than fowl will be auctioned that night. Another big ticket items is an evening of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres for a party of no fewer than 14 guests at one of Demopolis’ premier historic homes owned by John Cox Webb. Also up for bid are two nights at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans; wine tasting, courtesy of John and Jane Wallace, and a package of art classes and cupcakes, donated by Kirk Brooker and the Canebakery.

Three exclusive hunting packages are being offered as well: a turkey hunt at Owensby Plantation, quail hunt at Camp Chapron and “skeet and eat” at Soggy Bottom Lodge.

Those attending are being encouraged to form groups to bid on the major items. Sealed bids can be submitted in advance, and phone bids will be accepted. If a bidder cannot attend, he may designate a friend to bid on his behalf by phone.

Patrick Young of Owensby Plantation.

Patrick Young of Owensby Plantation.

An array of silent auction items will be up for bid, gathered by Katharine Glass and Amanda Hall. Paintings, photographs, a hand-carved Brewster the Rooster walking stick, and sculptures are among the articles to be sold to the highest bidder.

Others are pizza for a year, tickets to theatrical productions, manicure and pedicure, massage, framed posters, photo shoot, a Yeti cooler, a framed tapestry, lamps, painting classes, numerous gift certificates and even two spots on the lead Christmas on the River Day Parade float.

ARTS award winner Mark Abrams, a Demopolis native and well known designer, has donated a pair of lamps and his Marengo Box from his Port 68 collection. Abrams’ home décor company specializes in accent furniture and home accessories.

In between all the bidding, the Elijah Butler Band out of Birmingham will play blend of blues, rock and country. The band has shared the big stage with Kid Rock, The Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels Band, and The Outlaws.

For more information on Rooster Day or to purchase tickets to the auction, contact Kirk Brooker, executive director of the MCHS, at 334-216-5475.

JUST FOR FUN: Rooster Day mascot abducted on multiple occasions

brewster savedDemopolis and Livingston police continue to investigate the kidnapping of Brewster the Rooster – not once but twice.

A third attempt to kidnap the beloved Rooster Day mascot was foiled by intrepid attorney Hunter Compton.

b at uwaThe perpetrator, who goes only by the initials “KK,” first removed Brewster March 7 from in front of the Coplin Building on East Washington Street where the six-foot fowl was advertising the inaugural Rooster Day April 9.

“KK,” speaking through Robertson Banking Company branch manager Allen “Bugsy” Bishop, demanded a ransom of two Rooster Day t-shirts, in sizes medium and double-extra large.

The felon also said, “Let’s not get the ‘po-po’ (police) involved. If Police Chief Tommie Reese was alerted, “Brewster will be fried.”

“KK” instructed Kirk Brooker, executive director of the Marengo County Historical Society, to drop off the two shirts to Bishop in exchange for how to find Brewster. The MCHS is sponsoring Rooster Day.

The rooster was returned without incident, and Brewster even made his next appointment at Foster Farms on time.

However, “KK” claimed he only received one shirt. Rooster Day organizers said there were not double-X t-shirts available.

In what appears to be a revenge action for his demands not being met, “KK” tried a second time to take Brewster from the offices of Manley, Traeger, Perry, Stapp and Compton (MTPSC) on North Walnut. However, attorney Compton caught him in the act and rescued Brewster.brewster at bridge

“KK” again kidnapped Brewster, this time making good his getaway and heading west on U.S. Highway 80. He sent proof of his felonious act by emailing a photo of Brewster standing by the Rooster Bridge historic marker.

Brewster ended up at the University of West Alabama, where, in a show of support by the university, he had his photo taken on campus and visited a career fair. Brewster even received an honorary doctorate from the UWA. No mention was made of where “KK” was at this time.

However “KK” snatched Brewster again and headed out of town. Livingston police pulled him over for transporting poultry illegally, and both “KK” and Brewster were taken to the Livingston jail and put under 24-hour surveillance.

“This is the worst jail,” said his lawyer. “Since the FBI (took over), no one gets out.”

However, when the FBI agents left for lunch, “KK” and Brewster broke out of the jail.

Apparently having had enough, “KK” took Brewster back to the home of Lisa Compton, the Rooster Day chairman. To his surprise, a Demopolis police car was parked next to the Compton house. “KK” told Brewster to “lay low” and placed him in the front yard before making his escape.

“I just ditched him and got of there,” “KK” told Bugsy Bishop.

Police plan to question both Bishop and Brewster once Rooster Day activities are over.

Chief Reese said his undercover detectives were aware of the situation the whole time and had Brewster under surveillance so he was always safe. Police decided not to intervene for the safety of all but now are charging the perpetrator with failure to buy enough Rooster Auction tickets. “KK” faces a four-ticket fine.

Reese also reminded the public that it is not necessary to rooster-knap in order to get a t-shirt. Shirts are available at The Craft Corner, the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce and the Jefferson Country Store.

In the meantime, attorneys for the perpetrator at MTPSC advised that he will not be addressing the press and is being set up by a growing number of rooster supporters.

A representative of the friends of Brewster, when asked to comment, simply said, “The Roosters are coming! The Roosters are coming!”