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Friday, July 1, 2016

City of Clarkton celebrates 180 years of settlement

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Purple floats were displayed during the Purple Hull Pea Festival parade.
(Photo provided)
CLARKTON, Mo. -- Celebrations for this year's Purple Hull Pea Festival were spread out over two weekends. The annual Purple Hull Pea Beauty Pageant was held on Saturday, September 29 and the parade and festivities at the park were held Saturday, October 6.

Parade entries focused attention on the 180th birthday celebration of the city of Clarkton. Beauty queens and politicians made their way down the main drag while an abundant supply of candy was available for the children lining the streets.

Two bounce houses were set up for the children's enjoyment. Games and vendors were also on hand.

In order to adequately celebrate the festival, the traditional free purple hull peas and cornbread were handed out.

State Representative Kent Hampton presented the city with a birthday proclamation from the Missouri House of Representatives.

Local entertainers provided live music.

According to information provided by the City, in 1955, L.W. Maddox began an experiment with pink-eye purple hull peas. He planted five acres of the peas and picked them by hand. Busch Canning Company in Blytheville, Arkansas found that consumers would actually buy them.

Soon many other farmers began to grow these pastel legumes.

In 1977, the city of Clarkton's farmers, Merchant Club and Civic Club decided that the town needed something to celebrate this new industry. They began to sponsor a fall festival each year.

In 1980, nearly 15,000 acres of purple hull peas were grown in the area making Clarkton the self-proclaimed Purple Hull Pea Capital of the United States.

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