It's the essential fall accessory.
It's bright. It's bold. It's blingy. It's big. In fact, bigger is better when it comes to the iconic Homecoming mum.
What started as a simple token of affection between a boy and his Homecoming date has blossomed into an industry of epic proportions. Ranging from $15 to nearing $100, depending on what you want on it, mums are big business in Cherokee County.
From a simple live flower pinned on a blouse, maybe with a ribbon, maybe not, silk mums have morphed into shoulder-sized creations embellished with everything from bells to footballs to beads and lights.
Reese resident Marion Micheaux, who was taking pictures of her twin daughters outside the Tomato Bowl in downtown Jacksonville Wednesday morning, said she remembers the Homecoming mum being the ultimate status symbol at her Plano high school.
"Oh my gosh," she said, laughing. "If you had a boyfriend at Homecoming, he'd better buy you the biggest mum he could get his hands on. If you didn't, you'd better get yourself something pretty impressive."
Receiving a mum from a boy wasn't as important as having a well-appointed flower, she said.
"If you had a boyfriend, you'd get one of those picture buttons and make that the center of your mum," Micheaux said, "Especially if he was a football player. Of course, one of my friends put a picture of Brad Pitt on her senior mum."
Cindy Bobbitt, owner of Cindy's Floral on East Rusk Street in Jacksonville, has been in the floral business 19 years, the last two in Jacksonville.
"Mums are definitely a Texas thing," she said, confirming a recent Reuters report that reiterates everything is bigger in Texas - including the Homecoming mum tradition. With over a week to go until Jacksonville High School's Homecoming, Bobbitt already has 50 pre-made mums ready to fly out the door on the shoulder of a happy high school girl. Then she'll take custom orders from the young ladies who have a very specific idea in mind for their mum.
"It used to be the boys who came in and bought them for their dates," Bobbitt said. "Now I see more girls buying them for themselves."
Parents also buy them for their daughters, said Tigerlillies owner Lindsey Terry. Sons for mothers, husbands for wives, parents for small children.
"Mums are definitely a family affair," Terry said. "We design them for little girls as young as two."
Terry, who has owned Tigerlillies, on East Commerce Street, for seven years, said that every year she sees the mums get "a little bigger and a little more different."
This year, she's concocting creations in metallics, iridescents, holographs and "anything that catches light," she said, embellished with "diamonds, crystals, sequins" and "anything shiny."
One design that has attracted attention this year is the "highlighter" head, with the bloom featuring a fluorescent color like a Highlighter marker.
"When people get their mums here, it's going to be unique and distinctive," Terry said.
A vast majority of the mums that both Bobbitt and Terry sell during the Homecoming season do feature the Jacksonville colors of blue and gold, plus a lot of white at Cindy's and a lot of black at Tigerlillies.
Officers in the Cherokee Charmers only purchase gold and white mums to set them apart, Terry said, but the trend is catching on among Jacksonville High School seniors as a whole.
Bells, footballs and football helmets are "must haves" at Cindy's, with other embellishments added to fit the wearer's personality, like cheer, dance or musical embellishments.
At Tigerlillies, ribbons festoon from the mum almost to the ankle and at Cindy's, the variety of ribbon is overwhelming, from a chevron pattern to a metallic tubular mesh pattern. Terry said each mum takes about four hours of labor to create.
Hazel Simmons, owner of Musick Flowers & Gifts, said mums in school colors are most popular at her shop.
With different price points and a unique design for every taste, the variety of mums is almost endless, as individual as the one who wears them.
The most unique one she's ever made? Terry said one young man came in and wanted to spend $250 on a mum for his Homecoming date. The young lady in question wore the mum on a harness which fit around her neck and across her back and covered her torso, with ribbons, charms and embellishments hanging to the floor.
Homecoming flowers a Texas tradition and business boon for upcoming festivities
It's the essential fall accessory.
- Local News
Gettin’ down to business at Small Business Expo
Small local businesses were the star of the show during the first-ever Small Business Expo held Tuesday in Rusk.
Jacksonville man found guilty of murder
On Tuesday, April 22, a jury found Jose Diaz Perez, 51, of Jacksonville guilty of murder. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison for killing Martha Caselin Ramirez on March 17, 2012.
Relay for Life events set
Cherokee County Relay for Life will be held overnight, beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, April 25, at Jacksonville High School's Mauldin Field.
JISD trustees talk bids for construction
The Jacksonville ISD Board is preparing to take bids on the new West Side Elementary School and construction at Nichols Intermediate.
Cuney Council cancels meeting, again
Tuesday's Cuney City Council meeting – in which local alderman were to vote on canceling a May 10 election due to unopposed status of candidates – was canceled because of a lack of quorum, according to City Secretary Brenda Lankford.
Senator Nichols speaks to Jacksonville Leadership Institute
State Senator Robert Nichols (R) spoke to the Jacksonville Leadership Institute Tuesday regarding the role of government in Texas.
Local boy recovering from campfire accident in Dallas hospital
Jacob Sessions of Jacksonville was burned on 71 percent of his body on April 5 from a campfire accident. He is currently in Parkland ICU due to his injuries, according to a representative for the family.
Cherokee County woman found dead
At approximately 9:35 a.m. Sunday, Kayla Nicole Thompson, 27, was found deceased in the driveway of her residence, located in the 1500 block of County Road 3201, just West of Lake Jacksonville.
Bullard Education Foundation sets record with event
The Bullard Education Foundation hosted its 4th annual 5K /Fun Run, “Strides for Excellence” on Saturday morning, April 19.
Fire destroys Sims Avenue residence
Jacksonville Fire Department responded to a fire in the 900 block of Sims Avenue early Saturday.
- More Local News Headlines
- Gettin’ down to business at Small Business Expo