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Boll weevil reigns at jamboree

In the days when King Cotton reigned, the boll weevil laid waste to fields across the Southeast, especially in cotton-dependent towns such as Marshville in the 1920s.

But today – and for the past dozen years – the boll weevil has been a cause for celebration as Marshville residents mark the town's annual “Boll Weevil Jamboree.”

Last Saturday, the town blocked off Main Street and filled it with amusement park rides, classic cars, vendors, games and food. Event-goers feasted on such fair favorites as barbecue, candy apples, funnel cakes and deep-fried Oreos.

“We had a wider variety of food this year,” said Carl Webber, the town administrator. “We had so many food vendors we had to do a second food court.”

Musicians took the stage morning until night with gospel, country and bluegrass. Children and adults danced in front of them.

Across the tracks, classic cars and trucks queued up for the festival's car show. In years past, winners got generic trophies; this year, the trophies are personalized and delivered to winners early next month.Cotton is no longer king, and the boll weevil no longer plagues the fields of Marshville. Yet, without the pest, many Southern farmers may not have switched to other profitable crops. And Marshville residents might never have known the pleasure of a deep-fried Oreo on an almost-fall day.