By Andrew Edwards
The Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce, City of Prattville, in collaboration with Southern Bite cookbook author Stacey Little hosted the first annual Dinner in the District on Monday night in the historic downtown area. The event laid host to about 100 different individuals who had the opportunity to intermingle amongst one another, indulge in great food and learn about the history of the great city.
The Dinner was set at heritage park, layered with a beautiful backdrop of Autauga Creek and the Prattville Cotton Gin. An extremely pleasant quartet band played in the background as city officials, business owners and others from the Prattville area took park in the night’s festivities.
“It helps to create a sense of community,” said Patty VanderWal President of the Prattville Chamber of Commerce. “It’s nice to be able to sit down, meet new people and have a lovely dinner next to the creek. We’re very excited to be able to put it on.”
Also in attendance was Mayor Gillespie, who was very jubilant about the event as well.
“We’re just so blessed to be able to have the weather that we’ve had tonight. After all the rain we’ve experienced over the last several weeks, it was nice to have clear night sky. We’re here in Daniel Pratt’s honor, and it’s event that we hope to continue in the future,” Gillespie said.
After speaking about Pratt, Gillespie mentioned that the dinner was actually an homage to a feast that Pratt was apart of back in the late 1800s.
Ann Boutwell, member of the Autauga County Heritage Association, had some interesting information about the history behind the dinner.
“Back in the late 1800s, Pratt actually hosted a dinner that was very similar to the one that we’re having tonight. But instead of just 100 people, Prattville actually served about 1500 different individuals. The dinner that we have here tonight is actually loosely based on the same meal that he had that night,” Boutwell said.
“Think about that”, she said. “1500 people. And there were no disposable trays or silverware back in the day. It’s pretty incredible that he was able to do something like that back then.”
The event also had a plethora of different artifacts that were taken from the cotton gin factory, dating back to the 1800s. However, the grandest and most popular spectacle of the night was the working cotton gin that dated back to 1895. The crowed gathered around the machine in awe as they watched history from the past come to life right before their eyes.
Boutwell mentioned that they had most of the parts sent off to be reconstructed, as most of the wood had understandably rotted from all of the years. However, when it was sent back, it not only looked nice, but was also completely operational.
The event was seemingly a huge hit, not only giving those in attendance a good chance to interact with one another, but to allow the citizens of Prattville to have a deeper understanding about the town that they live in.