• By Vanessa Seitz

Midway News and Views

Midway News It rained! Probably the biggest news in Midway this week was that it rained! Thank you to all those who prayed for rain, did rain dances, washed their cars or watered their yards. It worked! So much rain fell Sunday that the burn ban for recreational burns was lifted – as long as burns are in fire pits. Fall temperatures and outlook for more rain this week and in the 10-day forecast brings much needed relief to our farms, gardens and water supply.

Fall leaf collection Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said that leaf collection will begin Monday, Oct 14. Please leave your leaf piles in the right of way and city employees will pick them up. He asked that residents please don’t leave any sticks or brush in leaf piles, as they can damage the chipper.

Don Jockey opening soon Midway’s first authentic Mexican restaurant serving fresh and local ingredients is set to open sometime next week. Situated along the railroad tracks, the much-awaited new restaurant has a time clock on their restaurant web page at donjockey.com. Midway Christian Church Oyster Stew Fundraiser Lunch and Pie Auction On Sunday Oct. 27, from 12:30 to 2 p.m., Midway Christian Church will host their lunch and pie auction. The menu will offer chicken salad, Greek salad, oyster stew or butternut squash bisque, country ham and biscuits, dessert from Midway Bakery and drinks. Donations are greatly appreciated. Call (859) 846-4102 by Oct. 21 to order carry out meals for $15 each.

2019 Midway Charity Chili Cook-Off This year’s Midway Charity Chili Cook-Off will be Saturday, Nov. 16, from noon to 3 p.m. (or until supplies last!). Samplers will pay $5 to taste the various chilies and will have the opportunity to vote for their top three. The Midway Business Association will provide each taster a spoon, cup and napkins. Each taster will vote for their top three chili recipes. All contestants must check-in at City Hall. Please set-up by 11:45 a.m. and be ready to serve at noon sharp. Contestants will have assigned outdoor spaces to set-up along the sidewalks of downtown. (In case of inclement weather, indoor location is TBD). Contestants are expected to prepare and bring six to 10 quarts of chili in their own crockpot(s) – but are welcome to make more. Contestants may enter no more than two chili recipes. Contestants will have access to an electric outlet and must provide their own draped table, chairs, serving spoon or ladle and extension cord. Contestants may also bring toppings (optional) such as cheese, crackers, hot sauce, etc. Votes will be counted and prizes awarded at 3:30 p.m. First place will receive $50 cash and a trophy, second place will receive $30 cash and a medal, and third place will receive $20 and a medal. For more information, contact Zachary Rankin (text 859-539-6659 or email zrankin@gmail.com). The application deadline is Nov. 11.

Midway Views As Halloween approaches and we take part in all kinds of fall crafts and celebrations, I thought it would be fun to look at the history of Halloween and its traditions. Halloween, named initially All Hallows Eve (“hallows” meaning “saints”), is celebrated annually on Oct. 31. Its roots lay in the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in), where celebrations included lighting bonfires, as a way to light the way for souls entering the afterlife, and the wearing of scary costumes to scare off ghosts and evil spirits. During Samhain, priests lit large fires to represent the sun returning after a hard winter and they would throw the bones of cattle into the flames, creating a “bone fire.” The Celts, who lived in Ireland, Britain and Northern France, celebrated their new year on Nov. 1, a day to mark the end of summer and celebrate harvest, but also to mark the beginning of winter – a time associated with death. The Celts believed that on the night before the new year, Oct. 31, that the ghosts of the dead came back to earth. The Romans had a similar celebration called Feralia, to commemorate the dead and another celebration called Pomona, named after the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. This is where the tradition of apple bobbing at Halloween came from. In those times, apples would be selected to represent the woman’s suitors, and the apple she bit into would supposedly represent her future husband. In fact, Halloween previously held many matchmaking elements during the 19th century! Romans also believed that the first person to catch a bobbing apple with his or her teeth would be the first to marry in the new year and that apple peels held the secret to true love. An apple would be peeled in one long, unbroken piece and thrown over his or her shoulder while being spun around. The shape of the peel on the ground represented the first initial of the peeler’s true love! Another All Hallows’ Eve tradition was mirror-gazing, when young people hoped to glimpse their future love by looking in the mirror. And walnut note favors were popular where loved ones wrote messages on paper in milk, folded the message and placed it in a walnut shell. When the walnuts were heated, the milky writing turned brown to reveal the secret message! Then, in the 8th century, Pope Gregory III designated Nov. 1 as All Saints Day to honor the Catholic saints and martyrs, and the day before was referred to as All Hallows Eve, then Halloween. Halloween in America was not really celebrated until the mid-nineteenth century, when festivals celebrating fall and Halloween were more common. As more immigrants from Europe came to America, so did the traditions associated with what we now know as Halloween, such as dressing up in costumes and trick or treating. Today around $6 billion is spent on Halloween candy and decorations, the largest commercial holiday after Christmas! And a quarter of all candy sold in the United States is sold during Halloween! Carving pumpkins or Jack-O’-Lanterns started in Ireland, using turnips instead of pumpkins. The Irish legend says that a man called Stingy Jack trapped the Devil and only let him go if he promised that Jack would not go to Hell. But when he died, he did not get to Heaven either, so according to Irish legend, Jack was condemned to wander the earth as a ghost for eternity. But the devil gave Jack a pump of burning coal in a carved-out turnip to light his way and thus began the Irish tradition of carving scary faces into turnips and leaving them to burn outside houses at Halloween to ward off evil spirits! However, when Irish immigrants came to America, they found that the pumpkins were easier to carve than their Irish turnip equivalents. Trick or treating has several roots, one of which is from the German-American tradition of “belsnickling,” where children would dress in costume and go to neighbors houses to see if they could “trick” them (guess their identity). If the neighbors could not guess, the children were given “treats” as a reward. It also comes from the Middle Ages, when poor people collected baked goods called “soul cakes” from the wealthy. In exchange for cakes, the poor promised to pray for the giver’s deceased loved ones. But it was only in the mid ‘50s that the “treats” were candy. Before that, they were sometimes toys, money, fruit and nuts. The well-known candy corn Halloween candy dates back to the 1880s when the Wunderlee Candy Company in Philadelphia invented the orange, yellow and white candy. Back then it was called Chicken Feed and sold in boxes with the catchy slogan “something worth crowing for.” The Halloween colors of black and orange also have Celtic roots in Samhain. Black represents the death of summer and orange represents harvest. The scary connection with black cats comes from the Middle Ages when black cats were believed to represent the Devil. The cats were then later associated with witches. Watch this space for Fall and Halloween events coming up later this month.

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