LOCAL HISTORY LESSON - Christie Rodgers, a Fulton resident and parent of two Carr students, visited Bulldogs Beyond the Bell, the Fulton Independent School’s 21st Century Community Learning Center, recently to share her knowledge of the history of the Banana Festival. Rodgers told the students that at one time 70 percent of all the bananas consumed in the United States came through Fulton. Rodgers said the Banana Festival was begun in 1962 and the name was changed to the International Banana Festival the next year. The festival ran uninterrupted from 1962 through 1992. Two years ago, Rodgers explained, a group of local citizens decided to bring the festival back. Rodgers also told the group that her grandfather was involved in the founding of the festival. As an owner of the Pure Milk Company, Rodgers’ grandfather was responsible for starting the tradition of the one-ton banana pudding that was served following the parade. The pudding was constructed in a container that was made in Memphis and was three feet tall and five feet in diameter. Rodgers said the pudding was made of 3000 bananas, 250 pounds of wafers and 950 pounds of boiled custard. The banana budding was traditionally one ton except for the one created in 1987 to find a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Rodgers said a two-ton banana pudding was created that year to beat out a Canadian city’s competition for the largest pudding. When the festival was re-established, Rodgers said the original recipe could not be used because of health department regulations. Also, the original banana pudding container had been destroyed over time so a Union City glass company created the new square container. The pudding is the last entry in the Banana Festival Parade on Saturday night. Festival staff members dished out bowls of the pudding following this year’s parade. When talking with the after school students, Rodgers dressed in a Chiquita Banana outfit and showed the students some of the Banana Festival memorabilia that had been collected and kept over the years. On Thursday before being dismissed early to attend the festival's Kiddie Parade, the after school students created their own banana puddings. With the activity, the students not only got to sample a treat connected with the local festival, but were able to hone their math skills while mixing them. For more photos related to the Banana Festival studies completed by the group, please click the Photo Galleries link on the main web page.