Every fall in Loachapoaka (pronounced: Loach uh poke uh), AL they hold the annual syrup soppin'. I had never been to one of these until a couple of years ago and it is quite an event. My friend Mary, her husband Bill and her little grandsons, Caiden and Devin, went with us last year. Caiden had his first horseback ride. It was not your traditional horseback ride it was on a horse making syrup. What an event....but what is it about Loachapoaka that fascinates me. Well, Loachapoka was a Creek Indian (and I am part Creek) town for some decades prior to white settlement. In the last census prior to the Native removal to Oklahoma, Loachapoka was found to have a population of 564. Upon settlement by Euro-Americans, Loachapoka was temporarily renamed Ball's Fork and it became the regional trade center, a position that was reinforced in 1845 when it became the eastern-most point on the railroad to Montgomery. Loachapoka's influence peaked in the early 1870s, when her population reached nearly 1,300. Within a few years, a collapse of trade due to the Panic of 1873 and additional rail lines in the area sent Loachapoka into economic decline. Loachapoka roughly stabilized as a small farming community by the mid-1900s, and by the early 2000s had become a very very small-town suburb of Auburn. To show you just how small I am talking about....as of the census of 2000, there were only 165 people, 69 households, and 46 families residing in the town. I don't know about you....but I lived in rural Alabama....and our town has over 20,000. The thing that makes Loachapoka famous is that it is home to the annual Syrup Sopping Day. A historical fair and celebration of making syrup in traditional methods from sorghum and ribbon cane, Syrup Sopping Day attracts more than 20,000 people to Loachapoka annually. Artists, musicians, local bands, crafters, all gather and show their wares. It is so much fun. The Lee County Historical Society Museum is located in an 1845 general store in the Loachapoka historic district, which, by the way is totally active with reenactments of how things were done in early times.
Fred's Feed and Seed is not in operation except on Syrup day....inside there you can find some really interesting farm relics and other stuff. I love looking at old stuff...in old places...and this place sure does not let you down. The smell of the old feed and seed place....permeates your nostrils from the moment you step in the door. It is amazing just seeing all the people who have come to visit, eat a biscuit, buy some syrup, look at crafts, listen to the music. If you are a history buff, love ribbon cane( if you want to read more about it) and sorgham syrup (yuck...maple girl here), or just love checking out old towns then you need to make plans to attend the Loachapoaka Syrup Days in October. It is definitely a great day for all...and the biscuits and fried apple pies are to die for.