Bonnie and Clyde Days returns to Pilot Point
By Basil Gist
Pilot Point’s annual fall festival returned Saturday and could have filled the vault if fun were bacon. The 11th annual Bonnie and Clyde Days, after a year of hiatus, returned with nary a sign a wear.
“It’s always great seeing people come out, especially after dealing with the pandemic; It’s good to see people out enjoying themselves and it’s a great turnout,” Mayor Shea Dane-Patterson said.
It was in fact a great turnout, with people from across the state and beyond enjoying the wares of myriad local vendors and food trucks, live entertainment and music, and a reenactment of the movie scene that inspired the event.
“It was right around the same number of vendors [as 2019],” said Wendy Haun, Pilot Point’s main street director. “We may have had a few more food vendors that we placed around strategically in hopes of providing more variety.”
The live entertainment included two local dance studios, Savannah and Davis Dance, featuring performers from toddlers to teens.
Following the dances, the Barrow gang drew the crowd from the stage and to the other side of the Square where the reenactment cast took to the stoop of the Farmers and Merchants Bank, to remind the crowd of gun safety before putting on their show.
The pop of gunfire rang through the Square as the gang stormed the bank, traded blank rounds with their adversary and rushed down the side street toward freedom astride a refurbished period appropriate getaway car.
The actors for the reenactment came from much farther than they have in years past. Many of the crew were from as far as Gibsland, Louisiana, where the infamous duo met their fate.
“We actually got hit by Hurricane Ida pretty heavily,” said Emma Zarang, who played Blanche Barrow.
She and her friend decided to take a road trip to get away from the destruction “and about three days later she just asked me ‘Do you want to be in a Bonnie and Clyde reenactment?’ And I was like Yeah, that sounds like fun.” The duo pulled into town at 3 a.m., Zarang said.
While this performance was Zarang’s first, most of the other performers were experienced reenactors.
“I’ve been doing this probably 30 years,” said Randy Moser, who played Clyde Barrow.
Kimberly Titus, who portrayed Bonnie Parker said she’d “been doing it since [she] was 5 years old.”
The cast members said they were incredibly thankful for the opportunity to come perform for the town and provided many shared reasons for their love of the art.
“I just want to inspire people with history and have the Bonnie and Clyde history live on,” Titus said.
They were also quite impressed with Pilot Point itself.
“We appreciate the opportunity to come to this great town and be able to perform and hopefully make the audience happy,” Moser said.
His brother for the caper agreed.
“In fact, now that you mention it, the smaller towns are the prime choice. [They] retain all their original historic buildings unlike a big city, where they’ve wiped out their history,” said Roland Salazar, who played Buck Barrow.
Bonnie’s portrayer sided with the brothers as well.
“I love it because everyone here is so down to earth, and it’s just so one on one. The crowd was amazing, the turnout: oh my gosh,” Titus said.
The reenactment cast were just some of the volunteers who made the event possible.
“Honestly, we could never put on something of this magnitude without our volunteers,” Haun said. “We’ve got two amazing people who volunteered to be our emcees during the event ... Both volunteered to just add a little something to our stage.”
Both emcees, Justine Wollaston and Reece Sartain, were elated to offer their time.
“To be part of this event, emcee here, is to participate in my community in a creative way that is just a lot of fun,” Wollaston said.
Although she oversaw most of the emceeing early on and introduced Apex Tumbling as they vaulted onto the stage, it was Sartain who handled the next event.
It began with 11 giddy children donning trash bags as the event’s volunteers placed pies made from scratch by World Famous Mom’s in Aubrey below their noses.
Less than three minutes later, each child stood, faces covered in varying degrees of pie filling, with their teeth and lips stained purple. The winner, Alyson Camar, used her hands for the first time since the contest began to hold his trophy aloft.
Not to be outdone by the frantic snarfing of the children, next 10 adult festivalgoers took their own seats, donned their own bags and leaned over their own pies. In a display equally as messy as that of the children, Stetson Holmes claimed victory.
The remainder of the afternoon into the evening was filled with live music and one more heist. Brian ‘Beerman’ Houser opened the show with his twangy covers. Next up came acoustic country tunes from Deanie Deal, who performed with Robin Hackett and Theresa Spurgeon. Mike and the Moonpies took the stage to round off the night with the band’s old-fashioned Texas country as the headliner.
“It’s great to see the Square so alive and active,” Pilot Point City Manager Britt Lusk said.