July 4th Celebrations

                                                                A bicycle race on the 4th at the Pacolet Mills Ballpark probably around 1946 or 1947. Please let us know if you can identify anyone in this photo.

The biggest community celebration, up until the late 1950’s, was for the 4th of July. This was held at the Ballpark and lasted all day. Almost everyone that was able, attended. The main attraction was the big barbecue dinner that was held under the big oaks.

Men started preparing the hundreds of pounds of meat the night before. Long pits were dug in the ground. Hickory wood was burned in these pits until a big pile of coals were left. The hogs were slowly cooked over the coals all night. Also, there were several huge black iron pots that were used to cook the special hash that seemed to be unique to the Upstate.  Click on More Photos to see additional pictures of preparing the barbecue and the July 4th activities.

The smell of the cooking meat perfumed the air for hundreds of yards from the ballpark. Hundreds of people lined up for the delicious meal about noon on the 4th.

There were all sorts of activities planned for the folks, particularly the children. There were foot races, a greased pig contest and all sorts of other competitions. One popular event was trying to climb a tall, greased pole with a sum of money on top. The first one to climb to climb it could claim the money. (About 1949, one of the events was a “guinea fowl chase”. Amidst a great deal of noise, about 15 or 20 guineas were turned loose to be caught by the boys and some men. Most were caught but a few flew over the fence and escaped. One of them made the mistake of appearing at our house in a day or so and making a loud commotion. We lived about a half mile from the ball park. The wayward guinea was promptly shot by my Dad or Grand Dad and made a tasty meal.)

Later in the afternoon, there would be a baseball game between the Pacolet Trojans and one of its rivals like Lockhart or Drayton.

July 4th had been celebrated from the early days of the mill village. One account from 1894 is shown below.

The celebrations were still being held in the company pasture in 1920 as shown by the story below.

More photographs of a July 4th celebration are shown in the story about the Baseball Park.
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See more information about my Pacolet connection at Gerald Teaster.