Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Opinion

April 18, 2014

Salute to 'Mr. Derrick Days'

This isn't a new topic – I first wrote about this in 2010. Allow me to share it again, with an update or two thrown in for good measure.

As we get ready to celebrate our annual week of fun known as “Derrick Days” in Corsicana, it's a story that bears repeating.

I can’t help but think back to the “near-death experience” that Derrick Days had 14 years ago, and how one man’s determination brought it back.

It was Derrick Days Saturday in the year 2000.

It was sad.

Banished from downtown for a variety of reasons, there were a dozen or so tents set up in IOOF Park, and the chili cookoff — then still “King” of the Derrick Days celebration, or what remained of it — was in the parking lot of the Fannie Mae Vernon building.

It was a very windy day. Dust swirled like mini-tornadoes across that dirt parking lot. The tents at IOOF flapped in the breeze.

It was “Derrick Days” in name only — it was a shadow of its former self.

It was, in a word — pitiful.

I was “out of the industry” during that time period, and not too keen on the “whys” involved, but it very nearly was the “death” of Derrick Days.

It may not have been the next year, but it certainly wasn’t long afterward that Brad Haynie decided it was time to bring the celebration back to its rightful place on the Corsicana calendar.

And the rest, as they say, is “recent history.”

As the years have passed, it has just gotten bigger and better. To be sure, there were a few bumps along the way, but with determination, persuasion, dedication and an influx of new volunteers to join with the long-time supporters, the present-day Derrick Days has become the widest-publicized, and perhaps best organized celebration I can recall since moving to Corsicana in 1987.

And I'm saying it loud and clear for all to hear — Derrick Days survived and continues on as a huge success today because of Brad Haynie — a man who loves his hometown.

Brad will the be first one to shy away from any credit, accolades or congratulations for what has taken place over the last decade or so. He’s just that kind of guy.

But, he is the guy that brought the annual Derrick Days celebration in Corsicana back to life after its near-death experience 14 years ago.

Hats off to all the volunteers and present-day leadership of the annual festival we call Derrick Days. You're doing a great job of carrying forward the tradition.

And hats off to a man I'm proud to call my friend — Brad Haynie — because for me, it's just not possible to think about Derrick Days without thinking about this great man.

Like Wolf Brand Chili and Collin Street Bakery, Brad Haynie is a Corsicana tradition!

We all owe you big time!

                     —————

Bob Belcher is Managing Editor of the Daily Sun. His column appears on Saturdays. He may be reached by email at belcher@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

 

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