Liberty County Courthouse hosts 8th Annual Fall Festival

Liberty County District Clerk Donna Brown hams it up with members of the Liberty County Sheriff's Office during the Fall Festival on Friday at the courthouse. Pictured with Brown (dressed as an aging American tourist) are Vita O'Reilly, Zack Harkness, Brad Taylor, Sheriff Bobby Rader, Shandalynn Rhame, Ron House, Mark Ellington and Gordon Bean.

With only two months remaining in her second term as Liberty County district clerk, Donna Brown is saying “Bon Voyage.” She and her office held their annual Fall Festival for the entire courthouse staff on Friday and chose a cruise ship theme as a humorous take on Brown’s failed reelection bid.

“I think we decided after the election in March what we were going to do for this year’s Halloween party theme. This is our bon voyage. What are they going to do, kick me out? They’ve already done that,” she said with a laugh.

In January, when the office is turned over to her successor, Delia Sellers, Brown will depart along with two other longtime employees, Rebecca Leopard and Frances Kester, who are retiring with 26 and 14 years, respectively. Brown has served as district clerk for eight years.

Brown said the holiday pot luck dinners have boosted morale, not only for her office but other county departments. She believes the luncheons are a reprieve from the serious work required year-round of her employees.

“Every day, they are either issuing a capias or a citation. Their jobs are very serious the rest of the year, so we take this one day to liven things up. It’s a heavy business the rest of the time,” Brown said.

Doyelle Turner, a former employee of the county clerk’s office, stopped by to say hello to Brown during the luncheon. Turner added that the luncheons make the courthouse a more pleasant environment in which to work.

“It makes a difference when you enjoy where you work. It makes you want to go to work, want to be more productive and do the best job,” she said.

Friday’s menu included an assortment of items donated by all of the offices within the courthouse. County Tax Assessor-Collector Ricky Brown, known locally for his gumbo, brought along a pot to share. Other employees donated chili, beans, taco soup, chips, drinks and desserts.

For this year’s cruise ship theme, Brown and her staff decorated the hall outside their office with a mock ship, faux porthole windows and aquatic plants. Brown, dressed as a tourist, greeted guests as they came in to pick up food and reflected on all eight years the Halloween event has been held at the courthouse.

“For the first one, I was Lucy and [County Clerk] Paulette Williams was Ethel. Everyone else did their own thing. After that, we started picking themes,” she said.

Themes in the subsequent years included The Wizard of Oz, the 1970s, Cowboys and Indians, Superheroes, Wonderful World of Disney and Witch Hunt.

By Vanesa Brashier,

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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