Poplar Grove keeps tradition alive


Local News

October 4, 2019 - 5:34 PM

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. — Psalms 127:3.


Tradition is a strong motivator. If that were not so, the 12 members of Poplar Grove Baptist Church in Humboldt might not have gathered Wednesday evening to put finishing touches on their float for today’s Biblesta parade.

Based on the above verse from Psalms, the float’s construction was relatively simple, a wagon with a colorful skirt and boxes representing gifts occupied by children.

In the past, with far more congregants, church faithful often produced some of the most spectacular floats in the parade.

One had the Rev. Phil Honeycutt, pastor of Iola’s Covenant of Faith Christian Center, as a gilded angel.

“Tim Clounch was the other angel, but I don’t remember for sure who was Jesus, standing in the clouds,” he said. “I think it was either Richard Tinch of Terry Franklin.”

The float was part of a mid-1960s parade, one of many of exceptional creation.

For years, intricate mechanics and eye-catching color schemes were expected of the Poplar Grove entry.

Karen Clounch, church clerk and secretary, and Helen Boyd reminisced as the farm wagon, with a new plywood floor, was transformed into a colorful float.

“I’ve been a member for 40 years, and I don’t remember much before that,” Karen said. But, she has experienced the annual enthusiasm, stoked by history that brings members together to work on each year’s float.

More recently, “We’re started and finished a float in one night,” Tim said. “Years ago it sometimes took as long as three days,” to arrange all components and put them in order on a wagon that had been used days earlier to haul hay.

“We take a lot of pride in what we do,” Karen said.

The Rev. Richard Smith was pastor when Biblesta started in 1958, the result of conversations by several groups that arose during home prayer meetings the year before.

“Rev. Smith was involved in getting Biblesta started,” Helen said. “He was a great artist and the mastermind of a lot of floats.”

Today’s minister is the Rev. Robert Favors, retired from full-time pulpit duty. He drives from Olathe for Sunday services and usually is in Humboldt once or twice during the week.

“I’m surprised he isn’t here to help with the float,” Karen said.

She and others praised the assistance Humboldt churches receive from Joe and Jane Works. “It’s a real blessing for a little church like ours,” Karen said. “It’d be hard for us without that.”

Their entry will be one of 14 in the 1:30 parade, along with three walking entries and Humboldt High’s band.

Before and after the parade Poplar Grove members will have a concession stand on the square, selling chicken bites, hotdogs and baked goods. Chicken bites? “That’s our specialty, chicken wrapped in bacon,” Helen said.