A sizeable crowd came out Saturday for the 39th annual Newtonia Fall Festival.

The event included vendor booths, food, music, games, a car show and a parade.

As spectators walked around, one of the vendors showcased a king-sized quilt made by the Newtonia Battlefields Quilt Guild that was being raffled off.

“This quilt has the colors of the Civil War,” said Bernadine Sprenkle, guild member. “We all worked on it together, we come together and cut out pieces. We had a good time and it is just like an assembly line. It is a learning experience.”

The local guild has been in existence since 2008.

“We get together for the excitement of making quilts and learning how to make quilts,” she said.
The guild meets at 10 a.m. on the third Thursday of the month at the Newtonia Community Center. They usually go until about 3 p.m.

 “Proceeds go back to our operating expenses because we rent the building and different expenses,” Sprenkle said. “We make different quilts to give away if people that had a house that burned and different needs.”

When the festival began 39 years ago, it was for women to get together and quilt. Sprenkle hopes that quilting will continue through the years.

“It is very important because after all, if they started it, we want to keep this going,” she said. “And now there has been more interest in the fall festival here. It is to draw the little community together.”

The festival also coincided with the Newtonia Battlefields Protection Association (NBPA) who gave tours of the Ritchey Mansion and a cannon from Wilson’s Creek, who provided firing demonstrations.

“The type of cannon that we have here is a 6-pound gun and it is typical of the guns that we used in our battle over at Wilson’s Creek in 1861,” said John Sutton with Wilson’s Creek. “It did have artillery. Union forces had a couple of guns here at the second battle of Newtonia on Oct. 28, 1864.”
 The cannon was fied at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday.

“We are very happy to be here to help the nice folks at NBPA with what they have going on,” said Sutton. “One things about cannons is that it is an interesting thing, people don’t often see these types of demonstrations, so we kind of use it as a vehicle to get into discussion about the Civil War.”
Sutton told the visitors about the gun and what each of them had to do.

“On the gun itself, you have five men,” said Sutton. “No. 1 is sponge and ram, that means he cleans the gun and then ram the charge (he is on the right side front). No. 2 would be on the left and he was the loader. No. 3 tended the vent, and that had to be done for safety purposes, they had to clean the gun between shots. By stopping the vent, it made sure and assured that any smoldering remnants from the previous shot were extinguished. He helped aim the piece, he actually had several jobs to do. Then he would assist number four in priming the gun, putting a primer in the vent and making sure that it was ready to shoot. No. 4 is the man who fired the gun. No. 5 brought ammunition to and from the ammunition chest. There is actually a six and seven back here at the ammo chest serving ammunition.”

From start to finish, it took 45 seconds to fire the cannon, which was used by both the Union and Confederate troops during the Civil War.

“The Confederate Army didn’t really invent something out of thin air,” he said. “First of all, they captured many U.S. arsenals that were in the South. Their officer corps were all trained at West Point and, at this time, technology was the same too.”

The spectators could talk to the troops about the cannon and its importance.