“Battle of the Bench” activities set for this Saturday downtown

Editor: Shannon Cottongame

August 11, 2021

Anne Chastain, who now operates Juniper Cove Winery at the location of the original Battle of the Benches, has refurbished the bench at the corner of Brazos Street and Washington Avenue in downtown Whitney.

Residents of Whitney are invited to attend the “Battle of the Bench” event set for Saturday, August 14, from 5 to 10 p.m. in downtown Whitney. The event will serve as a rededication of the bench located at the corner of Brazos Street and Washington Avenue, which was the site of the historic “Battle of the Benches” in 1949. It will also be a community celebration of Whitney’s history.

The celebration will include photo opportunities, a street dance, a senior sit-in and people’s choice voting on benches decorated by local businesses.

Activities begin at 5 p.m. with the dedication and the opening of people’s choice voting for the best decorated bench by a local business. Photos of the benches will be displayed for the election, which will end at 8 p.m. with the winner announced at 9 p.m.

The descendants of the original bench sitters featured in Life Magazine will also gather at 5 p.m. for a photo, followed by a “senior sit-in.” Family pictures on the bench will be available throughout the event.

At 6 p.m., line dancing will be taught by an instructor along with Lake Whitney Senior Center assistants.

A jam session begins at 7 p.m. with local musicians and Lake Whitney Senior Center, and a community concert and street dance will start at 8 p.m. Music and fun will continue until 10 p.m. There will be free watermelon between 6 and 8 p.m. while supplies last, and other food vendors are also scheduled to be on site.

Any descendants of the “bench sitters” featured in the 1949 Life Magazine article are invited to contact Anne Chastain to participate in the planned photo of descendants sitting on the bench.

Businesses in the 76692 zip code that would like to enter the bench decorating contest may also contact Chastain by August 11.

She may be reached at info@battleofthebench.com or 254-266-5351.

The purpose of the event is to bring the community together with the theme of the historical event and build community spirit and pride.

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