A lot has changed since 1972.
Gas is no longer 55-cents a gallon and a postage stamp is a far cry from the eight pennies it cost back then and the first Scratch Ankle took place.
North Willing Street in Milton will come alive on March 14 from 4 – 9 p.m. as Scratch Ankle makes its historic return to the site where it originally began.
Scratch Ankle is best described as a gathering of Milton residents to celebrate the city’s historic and rich heritage. To help in this, the city is offering non-profit clubs, organizations, and groups home-based in the Tri-County area (Santa Rosa, Escambia, and Okaloosa counties) the chance to participate while serving as a fund raiser for the organization.
As the event is about a week away over 50 vendors have signed up to make this event a tremendous success.
“With this first year the response from the community tells us this is what they have been wanting,” said Milton Parks and Recreation Director John Norton. “When the community wants something we try our best to give them what they want.
The focus of the non-profit groups using this event as a fundraiser dates back to 1972 when Milton City Council Member G. Alan Whitby wanted a community gathering for people in Milton and the Milton Youth Council, under the direction on Betty Willey, answered the call.
With over 50 non-profits participating there will be a wide variety of items, games, and informational spaces for the residents to enjoy during their visit to downtown Milton.
“The variety we have is really great,” Norton said. “We have tried to limit it to no more than two of the same types of booths.
“We are also really happy with the various organizations participating. We have school groups, churches, girl scouts, boy scouts, and several youth programs.”
As far as games and entertainment there will be a baseball throw, model railroad, a bean bag throw, crafts, face painting, a dunking booth, cake walk, a dart throw, a fishing game, ring toss, duck pond, basketball, a jail and bail and much more.
And don’t worry about food, there will be plenty with booths offering items like shish kabobs, fried pork sandwiches, snow cones, pizza, popcorn, drinks, hamburgers, sausage sandwiches, funnell cakes, cotton candy and much more.
“This is a very low cost, family oriented affair,” Norton said. “There are a lot of things for the older and younger residents to enjoy.
“This is a day for everyone so come prepared to find a neighbor you haven’t seen in awhile and talk to them.”
Scratch Ankle itself has been in several locations with several different versions over the years, but the Milton City Council made a decision to take over the event to return it to its roots.
“The City felt like the event was no longer true to its roots. When it originated it was for non-profit organizations like civic organizations, church groups, and school groups and organizations as a fund raiser,” Norton said. “To do that the city felt like they needed to take it back over.
“The city is dedicating this event for non-profits. There are enough events held in Milton giving plenty of opportunities for those for profit individuals and businesses.”
As the city gets the festival going there are other items being discussed for future Scratch Ankle festivals.
“The Scratch Ankle Parade and the Little Miss and Mister pageants are in possible future plans. The City wanted to start small and get all of its ducks in a row and then expand as the event goes on,” Norton said. “The event itself, as far as what will be offered, is up to the imagination of the nonprofit groups and organizations participating.