Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Ant is Back!/So Long Sweetwater Reunion

Friday and Saturday mark the return of that celebrity know, the one on those great looking tee-shirts. Downtown Russellville will be reinventing itself as the center of all things fun once more this year. Here's a brief bio of one our favorite bands that will be performing:

Out of Northwest Alabama come The KGB entertaining crowds all around the Southeast with talented vocalists covering every genre of music. A KGB show is so diverse that it pleases all ages and all musical tastes with powerful ballads, tight harmonies and a lot of laughs. They are currently working on their first all original album which will be released soon. Kerry Gilbert is a native of Russellville and in 1986 played his first Watermelon Festival with a local band called Mountain Breeze. The KGB consists of: Kerry Gilbert, Randy Kimbrough, Mitchell Curtis, Shane Goodson, Hugh Banks, Byron Jamerson and David Jones.


Last weekend marked the final Sweetwater Reunion. We were remiss in not reporting on it before now, but it gives us a chance to clear up some misconceptions. The Reunion has been an East Florence staple for 26 years, and event organizers felt it had run its course.

The demise of the annual reunions has nothing to do with discontinuation of work on Sweetwater Mansion. The owner of the old Weeden home has for two years been attempting to bring in tourist dollars with sporadic events. While it's unofficial, we have heard that renovation has stopped on the project due to lack of funding and interest from the local community. Sweetwater's Facebook page has not been updated in three months and the director no longer lists the mansion as among her interests. Anyone surprised?


Where were you 35 years ago today? If you have an interesting memory of that Tuesday, be sure to leave it here:



  1. Thanks for clarifying the difference in the two. Sweetwater Mansion could or should have taken lessons from the Buffler House in St. Florian as they demonstrated the correct way to remodel. It is my opinion restoring the old Weeden home was never the owners intentions as several volunteers who actually spent their own money, never got reimbursed from the propery owner. Thus cementing my original thoughts that the whole deal was a scam from the get go.

  2. I hope someone else takes up the banner of the Sweetwater Mills Reunion. I will miss going.

    I have attended many times as a vendor and enjoyed the fellowship with relatives and friends. The organizers, Joyce Rikard, in particular, have always made my co-author, Larry Fisher, and me feel extremely welcomed. Larry was honored in 2011 by the reunion committee for creating the Remembering Florence facebook page and co-authoring Remembering Florence Vols. 1 and 2. Our book signings there have been wildly successful and we thank all who purchased books and shared photos and memories with us.

    Throughout the years, my relatives have been employed by the mills and several of my ancestors had jobs at Florence Wagon Works. I don't think my generation (and those younger) understands/appreciates the value of the oral history these people provide.