Sonker Festival draws crowd Saturday

First Posted: 10/3/2009

LOWGAP While everyone else in the county was rushing to get from place to place, some decided to find a slower pace and enjoy fruit pies called sonkers at the annual festival held at the Edwards-Franklin House Saturday afternoon.
On a sunny fall afternoon, Cama Merritt greeted guests as they came inside the home that was built in 1799. She loves telling the history of the old house and how hard people passionate about history have worked hard to preserve the house so it can be enjoyed today.
A number of years ago, Ruth and Swanson Richardson were talking with me about how to get people to come visit the house. So we thought wed feature local food. We got to talking about how they made sonkers and Swanson said that wasnt what they called them when we has growing up. He said they called them cobblers, Merritt said.
Money was raised at the free event by selling cookbooks with sonker recipes and the sonkers themselves. Visitors sat on the lawn bordered by fences draped with old-time quilts enjoying one of many varieties on sonkers, including apple, cherry, blackberry, sweet potato and peaches.
Visitors were also encouraged to tour the inside of the home that now has furniture that was donated by families who have lived in the home and one antique four-poster bed that was hand-made by a local artisan.
A loom in one of the upstairs rooms was also donated by the Carter-Burge-Miller house. Merritt said it wasnt working this year, because unfortunately, the mice got the better of the yarn in the past year.
Throughout the home, decorative painting could be seen on the doors, mantels and on raised paneling. Merritt said the painting dated back to when the house was originally built. She said the owners of the home had 2,300 acres and 50 slaves. Across the road from the house, located at a home on Haystack Road, are the graves of those who once lived in the house and those of some of the 50 slaves who worked on the farm.
The annual Sonker Festival benefits the preservation of the 200-year-old Edwards-Franklin House, which was built by Gideon Edwards and was later occupied by Congressman Meshack Franklin. The Surry County Historical Society purchased and restored the home in 1973.
Christa Midkiff marveled Saturday at the decorative painting on the upstairs bedroom doors. She said she loves the sonkers and comes every year.
I like to come back year to year to see how it has changed, Midkiff said.
The Steeles, Kent and Peggy of Jonesville, invited their daughter, Teresa Reece, and her family from Lewisville for the day. Reeces husband, Matt, said up until Thursday, he thought he was coming to a soccer festival.
Im really glad it turned out to be a fruit pie and not a little round ball. I thought I was a cobbler aficionado that was until I tried the sweet potato sonker, he said with a smile. Their son, Luke, tried the cherry sonker, and Elliott ate the apple sonker. Luke said his was pretty good.
Contact Mondee Tilley at [email protected] or at 719-1930.

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