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Burkville, Alabama’s annual Okra Festival sustains its rural community in more ways than one. by Amanda Burleigh The 10th annual Okra Festival will be held in Burkville, Alabama, on August 28 this year. What started as a neighborhood party thrown by two friends in Lowndes County has blossomed into an annual festival drawing thousands of people to this small town located outside Montgomery. “Everybody in my little community grows the mighty okra, which we call ‘the peoples’ vegetable,’” says festival co-founder Barbara Evans. “It’s like us, strong, Southern, can withstand anything and keep going.” After the success of the first festival, Evans says townspeople wanted it to continue. “Local people cook all kinds of food, from pig ear sandwiches to gumbo. Okra is fried, steamed, stewed, boiled and used in art,” she says. But that’s not all. Festival goers will also find okra casseroles, hors d’oeuvres, pie and pickled okra. Sunny Boy King, a local bluesman, has been performing from Evans’ front porch, located on the festival grounds, since the second year. Vendors sell art, preserves and crafts, and there is even the occasional yard sale. “One year we had pony rides, but it was just too hot for the ponies,” says Evans, pictured

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