2001 Festival Pictures - Around the Cove Pictures - Bama Bob Poem
Friends and kinfolk who died on TWA Flight 800


Why Do We Have the Festival?

Hey!  Tell Me About that Moonshine Festival

     First, it’s a lot of fun.  It’s a happy and life-affirming celebration.  It’s a chance to see your neighbors and kin and meet new neighbors. It’s the McMahan’s Cove Moonshine and Muscadine Festival. It’s a chance to give something back to our community. And, most importantly, it’s a time to remember Brenda, Tom, Joe, Barbara and Mike through the McMahan’s Cove Scholarships. To say that the Festival is the turning of tragedy into triumph is precisely the point.

     Bound for Paris, Brenda Graham Privette and her son Tom Weatherby left home at the head of McMahan’s Cove early on the morning of July 17, 1996.  Joining them were Mike and Barbara Scott and their son, Joe.  The boys, both 13 years old, were classmates and buddies.  The adults were friends, Scout and community leaders and all five—parents and sons—attended church together.  The Scotts didn’t live in McMahan’s Cove, but they had deep family roots here.  All five perished together that evening, when TWA Flight 800 exploded and crashed just off Long Island, New York.

     The October after the disaster, we threw the first M&M Festival, both as a way to remember the lives of our family and as a “thank you” to our friends and community.   Planned to be a one-time event, folks loved it so much that we decided to have it again.  Each year, the Festival grew in size and popularity.  People started talking about “next year” even before this year was finished.

    Fun and fellowship aside, its major purpose became raising money for the McMahan’s Cove Scholarships.  Over the years of hat-passing and T-shirt-selling, we’ve raised more than $30,000.00 for scholarships to deserving local graduates.  The Festival and the scholarships have become living, vital and cathartic means of remembering those whom we love, but see no more.

     Time and God’s balmy grace are good medicine.  Our lives have bent and changed, healed and moved in other directions.  The Festival remains a time to say Thanks to friends who stood with us on other nights and Thanks for the many blessings we enjoy.  Though more than eight years have passed since that terrible night when Flight 800 fell with them—and 225 others—into the Atlantic, their lives and memories still shine brightly on this autumn night in McMahan’s Cove, where they’ll always be at home with us—and we with them. 

     Come to the Festival; come to McMahan’s Cove; come stand and celebrate with us on this uncommon night.