‘Wild’ production in Athens known as
the Poke Sallet Follies turns 20

A Southern dish made from a weed helped propel a Southern city’s annual community production into a money maker for senior services.

This year, that community production, known as the Poke Sallet Follies, turns 20.

Prior to the follies, the Council on Aging in Limestone County raised additional funds for services by holding yard sales and chicken stews. Those events raised at most $1,000 to $2,000. Athens resident Harriette Rost approached former COA Director Helen Carter about putting the efforts of her staff and volunteers into a big fundraiser.

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photos from last year's production (2011)

That’s how Harriette Rost, her husband, the late Tom Rost, Carter, Martha Jo Leonard and the late Mary Thompson devised the follies. Harriette Rost suggested a spring production where civic and community leaders performed wild antics in various skits. She came up with the name Poke Sallet as a play on words for the Southern dish polk salad.

“Harriette said, ‘What comes up in the spring and grows wild?’ referring to polk salad,” Carter said. “Since we were holding the production in the spring, doing wild skits and community leaders were poking fun at themselves, it was dubbed Poke Sallet.”

The first show in 1992 raised about $5,000. Today, the event raises between $18,000 and $20,000 annually. Carter, who performs in the production, said that since its inception, the Poke Sallet Follies have raised $282,000.

That money has gone to provide food for all Meals on Wheels clients. Prior to the additional funding, citizens were on a waiting list for the meals. The money also bought a freezer so that COA can provide frozen dinners to citizens who live in more rural areas that are not serviced by regular Meals on Wheels routes. Funds have also gone for renovations of the Athens Senior Center.

For the 20th anniversary, the theme is, “Thanks for the Memories.” Favorite skits from the past will be performed as well as new ones. Skits will include Blues Brothers, Young Men in Black, Harper Valley PTA and I’m Too Sexy. Jackie Greenhaw is directing the production.

March 8, 9 and 10 at 7PM nightly at the Athens Senior Center at 912 W. Pryor St. Tickets sales start Feb. 20 at 6 a.m. at the center. There is usually a line waiting to purchase tickets that morning, and the show sells out fast, so make plans to buy tickets early.  $35; includes dinner.

Below is a list of the skits and cast from the program:


Jim Moffat, Staley Jackson, Barry Sammet, Don Bowers, Beth Ham, Jackie Greenhaw, John Romine, Ann Laurence, Phillip Presley, Daryl Sammet

Last Dance—by the Prime Time Players

Doo Right Family

Martha Jo Leonard, Wade Batts, Dan Williams, Jayne Ann Higginbotham, Eddi Smith, Frank Travis, Natalie Powers, Faye Sammet, Tanjie Siniard, Shane Black

Sad Sack

Sharon Moore, Mike Swanner, Jack Greenhaw, Jennnifer white, Ronnie Marks, Jeff Powers, Barry Sammet, Jim Moffatt


Wade Batts, Beth Ham, Don Bowers, Glenda Malone, Lisa Payne, John Romine, Ann Laurence, Larry Burlingame, Rhonda Baldwin, Karen Middleton, Jimmy Gill, Staley Jackson, Vicki Bedingfield, Don Mansell, Leigh Ann Cochran, Nancy Stevenson, Barry Sammet, Erin Suiter, Denver Betts, Ronnie Marks, Frank Travis, Phillip Presley, Joyce McLin , Jerry Threet, Stanley Menefee, Renada Hetherington, Daryl Sammmet, Ollie Parham, Herby Greenhaw, Hannah Hancock, Annette Barnes, David Foreman, Sandra Marks, Trent Chandler, Jariya Travis, Ginna Chittam, Judy Harvey, Natalie Powers, Regina Montgomery, Melesa Norwood, Roger Bedingfield, Terri Mansell

Harper Valley PTA

Faye Sammet, Denise Pettey, Deb Kohlhase, , Joan Orman, Helen Carter, Doug Patterson, Kelli Lindsey, Ashley smith, Rhonda Baldwin, Tanjie Siniard, Dan Williams, Jayne Ann Higginbotham, Teresa Higgins, Nancy Stevenson, Ann Laurence, Debbie Newman

Young Men in Black

Kevin Givens, Ben Romine, Ennis McLin, Jr., Jerry Threet, Zach Burgreen, Nathan Wiseheart, Doug Patterson, Shane Black, Brittany Wiseheart

Alabama Public TV

Tee Jackson, Melesa Norwood, Joyce McLin Glenda Malone, Trent Chandler, Joan Orman, Brian Patterson, Larry Burlingame,  Denise Pettey, Beth Ham, Staley Jackson, Brittany Wiseheart, Kay Burlingame,Tom McCrary, David Foreman, Debbie Newman, Greg Glaze, Regina Montgomery, Ashley smith, Ollie Parham, Renada Heatherington,, Lisa Payne, Stanley Menefee , Roger Bedingfield, Hannah hancock, Ginna Chittam, Teresa Higgins, Kelli Liindsey, Stacey Givens, Jackie Jackson, Deb Kohlhase, Helen Carter, Don Bowers


Judy Harvey, Annette Barnes, Melesa Norwood, Jennifer White, Natalie Powers, Vicki Bedingfield, Sally Marks, Leigh Ann Cochran, Erin Suiter, Peggy Strain, Terri Mansell, Sharon Moore

Four Tops

Frank Travis, Ennis McLin, Sr., Joyce McLin, Jimmy Gill as Marvin Gaye, Ennis McLin, Jr., Denver Betts, Jariya Travis

Blues Brothers - Greg Glaze & Jim Moffatt

I’m Too Sexy

Phillip Presley, Karen Middleton, Brian Patterson, Zach Burgreen, Ronnie Marks, Denver Betts, Roger Bediingfield, Ben Romine, Jim Miner, Kevin Givens, Mike Swanner, John Romine

Does He Love You?

Jackie Jackson, Edi Smith, Kay Burlingame

Splish splash

Herby Greenhaw, Barry Sammet, Mike Swanner, Denver Betts, Ronnie Marks, Daryl Sammet, Don Mansell, Jeff Powers, John Romine, Jim Miner

The prayer

Jackie Greenhaw & Stacey Givens

Directors of the program were Jackie Jackson, Jackie Greenhaw, Kay Burlingame


Teresa Todd Athensplus.com &
Holly Hollman
                                                        Grant coordinator/communications specialist