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News​ Archive

Neighbors: A Brogden Family Affair - Bootheel Gourds

Meg Benson, Interim Editor, Daily Dunklin Democrat - November 29, 2014


Right in the middle of oldtown Kennett sits an earnest, backyard garden patch that represents the lifeblood of a homegrown, cottage industry known as Bootheel Gourds.



"My dad's been a farmer, all his life. If you give him some seeds, he's gonna put them in the ground," explained Alicia Brogden Thomas, founder of the Bootheel Gourds collection. The seeds came from a friend and co-worker of hers, while the pair worked together at Hallmark, in Kansas City. Thomas continued, "She had gotten into pine needle basket weaving, something that is often used along the edges of carved gourds. She asked me, 'If I give you some gourd seeds, do you think your dad would grow them for me?' But then, she developed throat cancer and couldn't work on her weavings anymore. My dad called me and said, 'I've got all these gourds now. Should I just throw them away?' I told him, 'No, give them to me, and I'll try to do something with them."...

A Review: Great Performance for SEMO Little Theater

Laura Ford, Daily Dunklin Democrat - September 13, 2014

Where could one get a night filled with entertainment, featuring everything from a dog girl, to a cat chick, to two star-crossed lovers, and a father who gets panic-stricken when his daughter locks herself in the bathroom on her wedding day? It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but for SEMO Little Theater, in Kennett, it was a great success. The theater performances were all part of last weekend's annual Fall into Arts Festival, offered free to the public. In both of the Friday and Saturday night shows, audience members enjoyed three, one-act performances, "Super Hero Support Group," and Acts II and III of the Neil Simon stage comedy, "Plaza Suite."


"Super Hero Support Group," presented by area youth, was directed by Marilyn Jones, of Kennett, and was written by D.M. Larson. The play opened with a comical group of super heroes sitting on a couch in a medical clinic. These heroes have grown tired of carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders, so they have turned to a super hero doctor who will, ultimately, take away their powers...

Fall Into Arts Festival Winners

Daily Dunklin Democrat - September 12, 2014

The Fall Into Arts Festival organizers have announced the youth winners of this year's art and photography contests, as well as the top-place adult finishers in the new video contest. The festival was held in downtown Kennett last weekend. The event handed out $850 in cash prizes, to winners in the art and photography contests, monies that were donated by contest sponsors, Senath State Bank and the Kennett Veterinary Clinic. Best in Show winners received $100 apiece. The Kennett Palace Theater donated $350 in cash prizes for the video contest. All winners were selected in a blind judging process.


The list of winners include...

Tasty Results at Jaycees Chili Cook-off
during Fall Into Arts Festival

Meg Benson, Interim Editor, Daily Dunklin Democrat - September 9, 2014

The Spine Tingling Chili Cookers from Wayne Chiropractic took the top People's Choice Award for the second year in a row, at Saturday's second annual Kennett Jaycees Chili Cook Off, during the Fall Into Arts Festival. Embracing a farm-to-table mindset, the Spine Tingling Chili Cookers used lots of locally-grown vegetables in their award-winning chili. Dr. Chancellor Wayne said the team also chopped all the veggies Saturday morning, including tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, green peppers and three types of chilis. The recipe also featured fresh meats. Dr. Wayne said the only ingredient that came from a jar was the tomato sauce.


The Spine Tingling Chili Cookers also used a cooking demo approach to land first place in the Showmanship judging category. The team demonstrated each step of their cooking process, explaining each step for prep and cooking...

Landrum Bringing his Hammer Dulcimer to
Kennett's Fall Into Arts Festival

Steve Patton, Daily Dunklin Democrat - September 6, 2014

Those who attend the Fall into Arts Festival this weekend will have a chance to hear some great entertainment. Perhaps the most unusual will come from a Kennett native who has spent years getting to know a different kind of percussion instrument. Dan Landrum lives in Chattanooga, Tenn., but he is looking forward to coming back to his hometown to play his hammer dulcimer, an instrument that is older than the piano and harp.



"I play drums, so when I heard the hammer dulcimer, I thought it was the coolest thing you can play. It's percussion. Honestly, I've never fit normal -- not on purpose. I drive an electric car, and I own a folk magazine," said Landrum. "I heard it, liked it, and found others liked it."...

Fall Into Arts Festival Kicks Off Tonight

Meg Benson, Interim Editor, Daily Dunklin Democrat - September 5, 2014


Fall Into Arts Festival organizers will spend the day getting ready for tonight's opening. Festival volunteers, including a group of Kennett High School students, will be setting up art contest entries inside The Opera House in Kennett. They will also mark off festival booth locations throughout the downtown Courthouse Square.


Festivities get underway tonight at 7 p.m., with the SEMO Little Theatre production of three, one-act plays. The first performance will feature area teens in the youth play, "Superhero Support Group." The second two performances will feature Acts II and III of the Neil Simon stage comedy, "Plaza Suite." The performances will also be staged tomorrow night. They are free and open to the public.

Throughout the weekend, the festival will include a variety of arts, crafts and photography, available for sale and also shown in competition...

Fall Into Arts Festival Live Theater Performance Includes
Surprise Result this Weekend

Meg Benson, Interim Editor, Daily Dunklin Democrat - September 2, 2014

This is a week of finishing touches at the SEMO Little Theater in Kennett, as it ramps up for its Friday and Saturday night performances of the Neil Simon hit comedy, "Plaza Suite." The productions are part of this weekend's Fall Into Arts Festival in downtown Kennett.


No stranger to pre-curtain jitters, the theater knew what it was doing, when it put the play into the hands of first-time director, Bill Jones. Jones has been a theater member since the age of eight, and he has performed in many SEMO Little Theater productions.


Door will open at 7 p.m. for the Friday and Saturday night shows. This year's production replaces the dramas that have been staged inside the courtroom of the Dunklin County Courthouse the past couple of years. But that isn't the only thing new about this year's effort. It will also be combined with a one-act play for children, "Superhero Support Group," directed by Jones' wife of three years, Marilyn. Mrs. Jones is the theater's corresponding secretary and has also acted in past SEMO productions.


The youth performance was a bit of a surprise delight for the theater because, once the "Plaza Suite" auditions came around in late July, more teenaged actors than adults showed up. Mrs. Jones attributes that "theater bug" to the drama camp she and her husband conducted at the theater in June...

Fall Into Arts Festival Live Entertainment Line-up

Daily Dunklin Democrat - August 22, 2014

The Kennett Fall Into Arts committee has announced the live entertainment line-up for this year's festival. It will include music, dance, magic and comedy.


The acts include ballad and bluesman Scott Myatt, from Jackson, Tenn. This crowd-favorite has performed at the festival for the past several years. Rocky Clements' "Show of Wonder" will offer magic, in a vaudevillian routine. Noted American hammered dulcimer musician, Dan Landrum, a Kennett native, will also appear this year. Landrum has performed worldwide throughout his musical career. Local trio, The Lucky Brothers, will also return to the Dunklin County Courthouse steps. Nashville duo Sabrina and Tony will perform folk-rock, as well as tunes from other genres. The Steve Davis Jazz Trio will also join the musical line-up. Roxy's Dance Troop, of Malden, Mo., will dance an assortment of styles. Comedy will be delivered by the SEMO Little Theatre Group, performing the Neil Simon play, "Plaza Suite," at the theatre...

Kennett Jaycees Chili Cook-Off returns to "Fall Into Arts" Festival

Meg Benson, Interim Editor, Daily Dunklin Democrat - August 15, 2014

The fifth annual "Fall Into Arts" Festival will welcome the Kennett Jaycees Chili Cook-Off back to the event line-up for the second straight year. The festival will run Friday, Sept. 5, through Sunday, Sept.7, on the downtown Kennett Courthouse Square, and the cooking heats up on Saturday, Sept. 6. "We are excited to have the cook-off as part of the festival again this year, said Mariann Wright, Festival Coordinator.


Set up begins at 8:30 a.m. The Jaycees will hold a mandatory chief cook's meeting at 9 a.m. Blind judging will begin at 1 p.m., with People's Choice judging from 1 to 3 p.m. Showmanship judging will take place from 2-3 p.m. Awards will be presented at 3:30 p.m.


Jaycees Recording Secretary, Lee Atwill, who is also coordinating the cook-off, said last year's event was so successful, they hope to add even more cooking teams this year. "We had about eight or nine teams last year, and we would like to have more this year. We're encouraging businesses and groups to come out and participate, or just come to enjoy the chili. We will be selling custom mugs to sample the chili, just like last year," he said...

"Fall Into Arts" Festival calls for contest entries

Daily Dunklin Democrat - August 8, 2014

The Kennett "Fall Into Arts" Festival Committee is calling all artists, crafters and photographers in the area to participate in this year's event by submitting entries for the festival's Art/Craft, Photography, and Film competitions. There will be three age divisions in this year's contests: Youth Division, grades 9 -12; Youth Division, grades 8 and under; and Adult Division.


Those interested in competing may submit up to four entries in the following categories: Painting, graphic design, three-dimensional art, color photography, black and white photography, portraits, and short film/video. First through third place prizes will be awarded in each category, with two "Best in Show" awards going to the overall winners. More than $3,000 in prize money will be awarded at this year's festival...

"Fall Into Arts" Festival seeking vendors
Daily Dunklin Democrat - July 30, 2014

This year's Fall Into Arts Festival is practically just around the corner. It will be held September 5-7, around the Dunklin County Courthouse Square, in downtown Kennett.


The event's founding organization, the Kennett Alliance for the Arts (KAFTA), is taking this time to remind any artists and vendors wanting to participate in the festival with a booth to register online. Registration forms are available at!vendor-registration-form.... There will be a $30 registration fee for all vendors selling products or subscriptions. Information-only booths will be offered on a complimentary basis...

Auditions for "Plaza Suite"

Daily Dunklin Democrat - July 18, 2014

The Neil Simon comedy, "Plaza Suite" has been selected as the live theatrical performance during this year's "Fall Into Arts" Festival in downtown Kennett.


The play will be directed by William Jones, of Kennett. Jones, who has been very active on the local theater scene for the past several years, will be holding auditions on Monday, July 21, and Tuesday, July 22, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. If necessary, call- backs will be held on Friday, July 25, 6:30-8 p.m. All auditions will be held at the SEMO Little Theater in Kennett.


Festival performances are scheduled for September 5-6 at the theater, with times yet to be determined. (This performance will replace the live productions that have been staged inside the courtroom of the Dunklin County Courthouse, in years past.)


The "Fall Into Arts" Festival runs September 5-7 on the downtown Kennett Courthouse Square.

"Fall Into Arts" Festival previews new highlights

Meg Benson, Interim Editor, Steve Patton Daily Dunklin Democrat - July 12, 2014

Preparations are in full swing for this year's "Fall Into Arts" Festival, being held in downtown Kennett, September 5 through 7. Two new features join the festival line-up this year, a video contest and a mini film festival. The film festival will celebrate the recent re-opening of the Kennett Palace Theater and will feature the winning entries from the festival's new Video/Short Film Competition.


The contest will include two levels, a Youth category (entrants through 12th grade level) and an Adult category. The entries must represent an original idea, created by the entrant within the past three years. They must not include any obscene or graphic content, and the "Fall Into Arts" committee will reserve the right to reject entries deemed unsuitable for the competition. A total of $400 in prize money will be awarded, and winners will be selected at the discretion of the contest judges. The competition is sponsored by the Kennett Palace Theater.


Following the screening of the winning entries in the Video/Short Film Competition, the mini film festival will also show a full-length film or documentary, yet to be selected by the "Fall Into Arts" committee. It will be held on Sunday, September 7, at 4 p.m...

Cat in the Hat pulls out the Win

Rachel Jaco, Daily Dunklin Democrat - September 11, 2013

During the Fall Into Arts Festival events that took place on the square in downtown Kennett last weekend, the Kennett Jaycees hosted their annual chili cook off. Mitchell Pharmacy, otherwise known as Mitchell's funny Pharm, received first place in the Showmanship Award. They also took home second place in the People's Choice category in the chili tasting.


"We enjoyed the weekend. We dressed up and had a lot of fun," said Jodi Green, Mitchell Pharmacy employee. The team dressed as characters from the Cat and the Hat. They handed out jellybeans in medicine dispensers to the crowd.


"We want thank everyone who voted for our chili, and look forward to this

event next year," said Green...

Kennett Humane Department, Copperosity 'puckering up for
Fall Into Arts fun

Lecia Fosester, Daily Dunklin Democrat - August 10, 2013

Once again, the Copperosity Classic will be doing its part to promote the City of Kennett and to help some very worthy causes.


Together, the Copperosity and the Kennett Humane Department will be sponsoring some fun things for the kids during the "Fall into Arts" Festival which will be held Saturday, Sept. 7, and Sunday, Sept. 8.


All proceeds from the event will be divided between the two veterinary clinics in town.


The "Kids' Art Zone will feature a face painting station, a crazy hair salon (with different colors of hair spray and funny hairdos), a temporary tattoo station, a coloring station with crayons, glitter and glue sticks, and pick-up ducks and fisher price basketball for the little ones...

SEMO Little Theater presents 'Oedipus the King'

Lecia Forester, Daily Dunklin Democrat - August 9, 2013

For those who enjoy the theater, this year's "Fall Into Arts" festival will be the perfect time to see a play. Like last year, members of the SEMO Little Theater Group will be presenting a play at the Dunklin County Courthouse in Downtown Kennett to kick off the festivities for the weekend.


This year's production will be Oedipus The King by Sophocles, and translated by Nicholas Rudall. This year's director is Brandt Roberts.


The play is a scheduled event of the "Fall into Arts" festival and performances will take place at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 6 and Saturday, Sept. 7...

Para, Barton to appear at Fall Into Arts Festival

Lecia Forester, Daily Dunklin Democrat - July 26, 2013

One of the many talented acts that will be appearing at the "Fall into Arts" Festival on Saturday, Sept. 7, will be that of Dave Para and Cathy Barton, performers in what is described on their web site as "Hand-Me-Down Music."


Both children of the folk revival, Para and Barton, both credit their older sisters for their interest in folk music beginning in the early 1960's. Although, folk singers of the past have had an influence on their music, the life they now lead in rural Missouri has focused their interest...

Fall Into Arts Festival Chili Cook-Off Registration Begins

Daily Dunklin Democrat - July 23, 2013

The Fall Into Arts Committee and the Kennett Jaycees announced the Chili Cook-Off registration guidelines for this year's Fall Into Arts Festival.


The Chili Cook-Off will take place on Saturday, September 7 on the Kennett Courthouse Square.


Interested persons or groups can display their cooking skills by competing in the Chili Cook-Off.


There is a $25 entry fee for each individual or team. There will be three categories by which teams are judged. First through third place will be awarded in the following categories: Blind Judging Panel, People's Choice and Showmanship. The People's Choice winners will be determined by members of the community sampling the various chilies, and voting for their team of choice...

Fall Into Arts Banners Going Up!

Rachel Jaco, Daily Dunklin Democrat - July 19, 2013

Soon there will be eight "Fall into Arts" festival banners hanging from the county poles surrounding the Dunklin County Courthouse. These eight banners symbolize the upcoming Fall Into Arts events for September 7-8. The Fall Into Arts Festival encourages everyone to come downtown, for family fun and entertainment. 

Fall Into Arts Festival 2013 scheduled for September

Lecia Forester, Daily Dunklin Democrat - July 7, 2013

The fourth annual "Fall into Arts" Festival is shaping up to be one of the best ever with new events being added each day. This year's event promises to offer an art experience that will definitely please all the senses.


The 2013 festival is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 6, Saturday, Sept 7, and Sunday, Sept. 8, in downtown Kennett.


Scheduled performers for this year's event includes the Kennett School of Performing Arts, Barton and Para (, Rocky Clements Show of Wonders, Roxy's Dance Troop, Scott Myatt (, and Semo Little Theater Group.


Although, new activities and performances are constantly being added each day to the organization's web site, the following are those that have already been confirmed and are current...

Art Festival Deemed A Success

Lecia Forester, Daily Dunklin Democrat - Sept. 11, 2012

Mother Nature cooperated beautifully this past weekend for the third annual Fall into Arts art festival and the 23rd annual Presbyterian Bazaar. Abundant sunshine, cooler temperatures and lots of entertainment made for a great weekend for attendees.


Kicking off the festivities at 7 p.m., on Friday, Sept. 7, was the SEMO Little Theater's production of Agatha Christie's "Witness for the Prosecution." To lend realism to the play, the setting was an actual courtroom in the Dunklin County Courthouse and according to Steve Sokoloff, president of KAFTA (Kennett Alliance for the Arts), the play was deemed a success... 

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