2019 Athena-Grease Goddess carries a ‘servant’s heart of gold’

ATHENS, Ala. – A woman who can fry up a batch of fish, volunteer with multiple charities and run a downtown business will don a royal toga to kick off the Athens Grease Festival.

Tiffany Seibert, owner of Snapdragon on The Square, is this year’s Athena-Grease Goddess. The main festival sponsor, Regions Bank, established two committees to review nominations and choose Athena.

“Our nominations this year for Athena are all outstanding women,” said Athens Main Street Director Tere Richardson. Athens Main Street hosts the festival. “I am sure the decision was difficult, but they have chosen a true community servant. Tiffany Seibert loves her city and her community. She gives back in so many ways.”

The person who nominated Seibert said she has a “servant’s heart of gold” and is “vital to the success of downtown.”

Seibert said the news stunned her.

“It’s a tremendous honor to even be included in the same conversation as the other ladies nominated,” Seibert said.

The Athens Grease Festival will be Oct. 19 in downtown Athens. Seibert will lead the kick off ceremonies with the East Limestone Marching Indians. She will have a throne of honor on the courthouse steps where she can watch the festivities and meet with event goers. Downtown merchant Hendricks-Patton-Rancl provides the seat of honor for the goddess.

The Athens Grease Festival touts itself as a quirky event that honors the Greek origin of the city’s name and is a celebration of all things fried. The blend of Greek and Southern results in a toga party on the City’s historic Square with fried dishes, a frozen turkey toss, children’s activities and much more.

As part of the festivities, organizers created the Athena-Grease Goddess title to honor a Limestone County woman who works to improve the City of Athens through avenues such as volunteering with non-profits, with the arts, with youth, on a city board, or through environmental efforts. She can earn extra points for being a good cook.

“The mythical Athena was a wise Greek goddess who loved and protected the City of Athens, could be a warrior, and had a creative side and interest in the arts, crafts and agriculture,” said Athens Grease Festival volunteer Holly Hollman. “Likewise, Athena–Grease Goddess should demonstrate similar qualities through her willingness to give back to the city.”

Seibert gives back through her volunteer work with organizations and projects such as Athens Main Street, Athens-Limestone Hospital Foundation, Athena League, Athens-Limestone Public Library Foundation, Donnell House and the Black & Gold Circle (Feed the Eagle). She has also served in leadership roles in recent years, including Heart Academy at Julian Newman PTO president, First United Methodist Church vacation Bible school director, Athens Youth Cheerleaders coach and program administrator and the library’s Storybook Ball chairperson.

“Please consider Tiffany for Grease Goddess,” the person who nominated her wrote. “She would never disappoint Athens, Ala.”

The other women who received nominations will receive invitations to join Seibert for the kick off ceremonies as members of her court. The other nominees were:

  • Kay Burlingame – A volunteer who supports events for United Way of Limestone County, City of Athens, Athens Arts League, the school system and more. She is also a member of the Athens-Limestone Foundation for Aging.
  • Helen Greenhaw – A member of the Athens-Limestone Foundation for Aging who volunteers with projects for the school system, City of Athens and other organizations. She also captures community events with her camera and prints photos and shares them with those involved.
  • Diane Lehr – A retired nurse who serves as vice president of Athens Arts League, a volunteer art teacher, and a member of the John Wade Keyes Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and City of Athens Relay for Life Team.
  • Jan Matthews – Founder of the MTM Corporation that supports youth development and scholarships for students who overcome an obstacle that could have prevented them from graduating.
  • Jennifer White – Retired from Limestone County DHR, a member of the Tie Foundation, City of Athens Relay for Life Team and Prime Time Players (Poke Sallet Follies).

Toga Tidbits for the Athens Grease Festival

  • Date/Time: Oct. 19 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Location: The Square in downtown Athens; hosted by Athens Main Street
  • Cost: $5 or $4 for toga wearers; children 3 to 12 years old $3 and 2 and younger free
  • Festivities: Fried food vendors, children’s activities, live music, frozen turkey toss, Dub’s Burger Eating Contest, fan zones with two giant screens for SEC football, etc.
  • More Info: On Facebook go to https://www.facebook.com/events/468056764007860/
  • Reminder: Eat responsibly the other 364 days of the year!

The festival’s past Athena-Grease Goddesses are:

  • Helen Carter, for her volunteer work with senior programs and other organizations.
  • Maria Taylor, for her volunteer work with various agencies including the Red Cross and Learn-to-Read.
  • Marlene Isom, for hosting fundraisers that have benefited several non-profit organizations.
  • The late Martha Jo Leonard, for her volunteer work with multiple non-profit organizations including Rotary.