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Claudie Parsons shares Broom making with Carmi Kiwanis Club

The Carmi Kiwanis met at noon on Thursday, February 9 at the Farm Bureau Building. President, Holly Healy led the meeting. We had Key Club members, Olivia Bohleber, Jenna Brinkley and Heidi Trout as guests.

Don White was the lucky winner of the 50/50 raffle.

Donnie Winkleman, was also a guest and contributed to the Good News fund with an update on the Salvation Army Bell Ringing. It was the 18th Anniversary for the Christmas season Bell Ringing. A total of $20,202 was raised. The Rotary Club won the friendly competition of the Service clubs by raising over $3,300.00 during their bell ringing shifts! Donnie said that the funds are greatly appreciated and have helped local people in need with food and medicine vouchers.

Eric Ralphs introduced his coworker and friend, Claudie Parsons as our speaker. Claudie worked as a Tour Guide in New Harmony 30 years ago. There was one room full of broom making equipment that no one knew how to use. Claudie’s boss arranged for her to meet John Davis from Bone Gap, IL. He taught Claudie how to use the equipment and make brooms. Later, a 4th generation broom maker from Kentucky came to her house and taught her to use the equipment she had.

Brooms were first brought to the U.S. by Ben Franklin in the 1700s. Brooms are made from a grass called broom corn. On average it takes 17 plants to make one broom. Claudie has big vats behind her house and about 20 different dyes that she uses for her brooms. The equipment that she uses is about 150 years old very heavy. They have a 20 foot trailer to haul all their equipment. They enjoy taking their grandchildren and going to different shows like the Kunstfest in New Harmony, IN that will be held September 15 & 16 this year. They also go to the Lincoln State Park every year. This year they are also going to Claudie’s old home town in Michigan. WNIN recently featured Claudie in a video. You can see the youtube video by googling Tri-State Life: Broom Maker Claudie Parson.

Hanan Issawi was the winner of the Illini broom that Claudie made.

Our next upcoming event will be Pancake Day February 17th at Washington School 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.