I’ve been going to one close by for a couple of decades most every year. Just a few thousand people in this small, Georgia railroad town but they do a great job and it’s always interesting.
I go for the bbq but always watch the all-comers-welcome parade that precedes it. The bbq is pictured. If Jimmy Meek gets a photo here of the flag and fireworks then it is necessary for someone else to add the other essential to our July 4th celebrations, pork bbq. It is excellent. My only complaint is that for the last decade or so I haven’t been able get there early enough to get some pork skins. Seems they pre-sell all of those. I have a better chance of getting a Master’s ticket.
The Fust Babiss Church does the bbq. Judging from the size of the pit, they must cook a couple of dozen hog halves which makes a lot of bbq. It is sold by the plate at $9 each. I’m good at math but don’t know how many plates you can get from a dozen hogs. I’ll guess that their total procedes are $8-10 thousand. I did ask one of the church folks that I know and all he said was that the money was divided three ways in the church and that “…some folks complain about how they do it.” Well, it is a Southern Baptist church. And, the photo above is the actual item at about 8:30 this morning. It would be a travesty to use a stock photo for bbq.
The parade has a local emcee, a homespun, corn pone humor specialist who has a bushelful of lame jokes. He’s great. Every group, school, church, politician, business, police or sheriff department, fire department gets a personalized plug when they pass the reviewing stand.
There were so many sheriff and police vehicles and fire trucks I’m surprised any were left to watch the roads and for fires. Sheriffs around here have to be re-elected every four years. They don’t miss a parade with their shiniest, most expensive, SUV smack in the middle of it.
Sure, there are beauty queens. The lovely reigning city beauty and all the “Little Miss Sparkle Glitter” and the like. It’s big for them, probably moreso for the moms and dads. God bless you little girl.
The Shriners are always on their scooters and spiffy midget vehicles. Some of them do tricks. But their numbers are dwindling and the few that came today were quite long-in-the-tooth. Need some younger blood.
Don’t get upset (no one at the parade did) but here comes the old Confederate battle flag, carried by a group of five re-enactors. They’ve got muzzle loading rifles and fire them off a couple of times. I chat one up after the parade: “I guess you are authentic in your garb. Is it all wool?” “Yep,” he answers, “Right down to the underwear,” which I didn’t ask about. They were the hottest group in the parade. Hardcore dudes but enjoying it. The guy volunteers that he also does WWII re-enacting, as a German infantryman. Go figure.
The Harley dudes, bikers, were there. It must be de rigueur for them to be unsmiling seniors with lots of facial hair. I give the guy that had a stuffed toy bald eagle on the rear seat credit. Nice touch.
There’s a guy who has like 100 restored auntique autos and always sends a few to the parade. They are neat, very nice, but how many 1931 Model A Fords do you want to see? I’ll go for the very cool old VW wagon with a wood and chrome luggage rack. That, and the guy in the 60s muscle car whom the sign said was the “original owner.”
The ball teams, businesses, clubs all had “floats.” I didn’t know there were so many bass pros in my area. Oh, these are young guys whose dad or grandad bankrolled the $50k bass boat and trailer. OK, grandad, can you calculate that price per pound of fish caught? If it’s worth it to you, I’m OK with that.
I’d give the blue ribbon to the local metalworking shop that built a stainless steel and chrome T-Rex about five feet high and 20 feet long. Very ferocious looking and quite cool.
I wonder if John Deere would be surprised that so many people spend so much money restoring his magnificent tractors, making them shine, where nary a clod of dirt will ever touch that tractor tire? Not many folks farm around here but, evidently, many folks like old tractors. Very cool, half a dozen or more of these.
A big hit in these parades is always the “honey wagon.” That’s the tanker truck of the local septic tank contractor. You know, he’s the guy you call to pump the processed groceries out of your tank. I don’t know what it is but all of these are guys-with-humor who have clever business names and look like they enjoy their work. I recommend that every overly militant Trad and every foaming-at-the-mouth insufferable Cal be sent to work on one of the wagons for a month to get their minds right and acquire a more healthy view of life.
This is a everyone-welcome parade. You want in it. You can get in. So, here comes a one-eyed, toothless, cross-dressing older guy doing clogging steps for the whole parade. All by himself. His outfit is a nice red, white, and blue ensemble. Fits the occasion. Everywhere I’ve ever served there are local characters. I take the attitude that I’d like to know his story because it’s probably interesting. Maybe I’ll find out one day.
The high school band plays a medley of patriotic songs. There are flags everywhere. It’s a grand event.
Oh yeah, several churches are in the parade. Good for them. One of the things I would do differently if I could re-do my early years as a pastor would be to be more involved in community life. I’d go whole hog at it I think because if you don’t you miss a lot of good opportunities to build relationships.
Besides, as pastor, they might even give me some pork skins.