THROWBACK THURSDAY: Market Days were a winner for Liberty Hill
By JAMES WEAR
It’s been many years, but a lot of folks remember Liberty Hill Market Days. Held the first Saturday of each month at Veterans Park downtown, Market Days brought droves of folks to the community as they would browse through the various booths that lined the back of the VFW property.
Vendors offered up baked goods, arts and crafts, and various other things, including goats milk ice cream. Some folks even recall a booth where “marriage licenses” could be purchased.
The booths were a series of sheds, about 10 feet deep, all connected together, facing one another. If I recall correctly, there were about 15-20 on either side.
I recall back in late 1989, maybe early 1990, when I enlisted Burt Ludlow to help me do some repairs on the booths as we prepared downtown Liberty Hill for the first festival. Eventually the booths were torn down as the VFW, after several years of planning, built its post home.
Wife Paula once told me Market Days was very good for downtown businesses, adding that when her mother had a cafe that it took two waitresses and Wanda cooking to keep up with the demand in her tiny diner. That was from early in the morning until late in the afternoon.
It was on a Market Day that Paula and I held our downtown wedding, and if we didn’t have enough folks attending as it was, many folks walked up from the VFW grounds to observe us exchange our vows.
One of the mainstays at Market Days was local artist Grace Williams, whose talent with a paintbrush has long fascinated locals. Chances are if you’re from Liberty Hill, you’ve got a Grace Williams’ painting hanging somewhere in your home.
Back in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, Market Days was often followed with a street dance that also attracted both young and old. Sometimes the street dances were sponsored by the Liberty Hill Volunteer Fire Department as a way to raise funds for the organization.
Like any good thing, Market Days had its heyday, and then slowly started to decline, perhaps because other huge flea markets began opening up in nearby municipalities. The decline of the event didn’t mean that Veterans Park went unused as for several years the annual barbecue cookoff was held there until the event simply outgrew the facilities.
Halloween carnivals were also held there, including one put together back in 1988 by former newspaper publisher Jim Linzy to mark the one-year anniversary of The Independent as well as to raise seed money for the Liberty Hill Community Chamber of Commerce.
Linzy dubbed the event “The Independent Chiliversary and Imaniffer Maskeraid Ball” (his choice of words and spelling) and the event, which attracted hundreds, included a number of activities including a 42 tourney that was won by sisters Barbara Sybert and Karen Smith.
Chris Sybert and T.J. Shannon won the egg toss. Annie Parks won the lemon roll while the late Laddie Matulla, who operated Lambo’s Diner up on Hwy. 29 at the time, took first in the jello sucking contest. Larry Floyd and Van Calvin took top honors in both the horseshoe pitching and washers competition while Liberty Hill All Sports Booster Club won first in showmanship in the chili cookoff. Tiny Walters and Wayne Benedict were first among the cooks in the chili cooking. Among the judges was Parker McCollough, who was a state representative at the time.