Each year, during the later part of October, the Longview fairgrounds and exhibit building come alive with the Annual Harvest Festival & Livestock Show and Sale. The largest show of its kind in East Texas, the event is open to 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) members in Gregg, Harrison, Rusk, Smith, and Upshur Counties. The event is organized by the Gregg County Extension Office and takes place October 27-29. Proceeds raised during the show and sale benefit the Harvest Festival Scholarship Program. The three-day show and sale will culminate with a barbecue dinner the last evening.
Mrs. Brenda McKinney has been a volunteer with the Harvest Festival for more than 20 years. This year, Mrs. McKinney is involved with the sale of champions, which will take place on Saturday, October 29.
“Each year the show and sale awards approximately $40,000 in college scholarships,” Mrs. McKinney said.
In addition to her commitment to the Livestock Show and Sale, Mrs. McKinney also volunteers with the Harvest Festival Crawfish Boil scholarship fundraiser held each spring. She is a lifetime member and past treasurer of the Good Shepherd Medical Auxiliary, a ten-year member of the Town & Country Garden Club, and is serving her second consecutive year as president of the Gregg County Unit of Retired Teachers.
“The people I have come to know through volunteering have enriched my life more than I could every give back,” Mrs. McKinney said.
Born and reared in Longview, Mrs. McKinney attended Judson High School until the consolidation with the Longview Independent School District and she graduated from Longview High School (LHS). The only time spent away from Longview was during her college years at Stephen F. Austin University, where she received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in math. Mrs. McKinney is retired from LHS after 30 years in public education and is now an adjunct math professor at Kilgore College. She and her husband of 45 years, Ronnie, have two adult sons and a three-year-old grandson, Carson. They are members of Oakland Heights Baptist Church.
“Growing up in Longview I was blessed to be influenced by some wonderful people in both education and 4-H. I feel I should pay that forward by volunteering in my community,” Mrs. McKinney said.
For more information on the Annual Harvest Festival & Livestock Show and Sale, including barbecue ticket cost, please contact the Gregg County Extension Office at 903-236-8428.