Monday, April 16, 2012

Gristmill added to festival

Tim Hobbs of Bon Aqua, Tennessee will make his first debut at Bloomin’ Festival this weekend. Hobbs started his Bristol Branch Mill Works in the mid 70’s as a hobby while he spent thirty-two years teaching auto mechanics in Tennessee public schools. Since his retirement he has taken his art of auto mechanics in the classroom live and on tour, but in a historical way.

“It’s a hands-on living history show,” Hobbs said. “We take several hand items to the shows to let children shell and grind corn on a small mill. However, meeting people is the neat thing about doing this. It is fun to listen about early days when they went to the mill to get their corn ground,” continued Hobbs.

“I have always had a fascination with grist mills. So I found a mill in bad shape and rebuilt it for myself to take on the road and participate in craft shows,” Hobbs said.

The grist mill is a 1914 meadows mill built in North Carolina, pulled by a 1954 International U2 engine.

Hobbs and his wife, Frances will demonstrate how to make corn meal and grits, as well as prepare hoe cakes on site for visitors to sample.

While visiting the Hobb’s grist mill, make sure to say hello to St. Bernard’s track and field standout Ayleana Mami. Mami currently holds the 1A title for the 1600 meter run as well as the 3200 meter run. She is an outstanding athlete who has captured the eyes of several coaches from the State of Alabama who think she will be the perfect addition to the Alabama and USA International Team to participate in the Down Under Sports Competition in Sydney, Australia in July.

Mami is delighted and grateful to work with the Hobb’s family on this project. Mami smiled when asked about working a grist mill. “Having grown up in Fort Drum, New York, I’m not sure I know what a hoe cake is, and am quite new to the pinto bean craze. However, I have never travelled out of the country either, so this is going to be an interesting learning experience for me too.”

Mami’s parent’s Anthony and Dorothea Hunter Mami are very thankful for the generosity of the Hobb’s family and the kind people associated with St. Bernard who have helped Ayleana in their efforts to raise $3,500 or the $5,000 needed to participate.

The gristmill we be up and running at 9 a.m. on April 21-22. For more information on Bloomin’ Festival visit

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