Dan Wehmer - Publisher's Pen

Dan Wehmer - Publisher's Pen

Longtime downtown Seymour business owner Ken Pennington was in the office Friday morning.

For more than four decades, Ken, joined by wife Peggy, was a fixture at the center of our square’s south side at Pennington’s Home & Auto, selling everything from Snapper mowers to Stihl chainsaws, carpet to commodes, and about everything in between.

Anyway, Ken came with an idea.

A darn good one.

So good, in fact, that I thought about stealing it and pawning it off as my own.

But Ken would know.

And I enjoy his office visits.

His idea is for Seymour to add a spring community event to its square, much like the uber-successful Seymour Apple Festival, which draws more than 30,000 visitors downtown every second weekend in September.

“The city and the business community needs to join forces with the Baker Creek Seed Company now that they’ve invested heavily here with the new seed-packing plant on the city’s north side,” Ken explained. “Seymour could work with them and bring some sort of a heritage festival here — either held on their grounds north of the highway or even downtown.”

It’s a marvelous idea, folks.

My personal tweak to Ken’s proposal is to call it the Seymour Seed Festival, since Baker Creek’s claim to fame is its heirloom seeds, which are sold by the millions across the U.S.

Above that, the reason for Baker Creek’s migration from rural Mansfield to Seymour’s north side is the packaging and shipping of the aforementioned seeds — hence the construction of more than 100,000 square feet of industrial buildings over the past year, soon to be completed.

“A celebration like that would draw visitors from all over the United States, even the world,” Ken noted.

He’s right.

Baker Creek customers come from everywhere.

So why not bring them to Seymour?

After all, Seymour now is a vital cog in a multi-milliondollar business created from scratch by owner Jere Gettle, who has a worldwide cache of customers and quickly has become one of our community’s largest employers.

Perhaps it’s a conversation for the Seymour Merchants’ Association to have. Each year, the association plays host to the Seymour Apple Festival to great success.

Perhaps it’s a conversation for the Seymour Community Development Association, which sponsors the annual “Let Freedom Ring” celebration for Independence Day.

There’s little doubt this project would be aided by the expertise of Terry Penner, the city’s community-development director.

To me, there’s no doubt a seed-connected celebration in Seymour could be a success.

A huge success.

Baker Creek isn’t the only connection to seed. There are all kinds of natural ties to Seymour’s farming community, which dates back to the county’s formation in 1855.

Best of all, the theme fits.

Seymour once was Missouri’s apple capitol.

That era ended long ago.

However, in the world of heirloom seeds, Seymour soon will be smack in the middle of national and even world distribution.

Isn’t that worth celebrating?

Dan Wehmer is the Citizen’s editor, publisher and owner. He can be reached at 417-935-2257 or via e-mail at citizen@webstercountycitizen.com.

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