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