Times sure have changed for Faith’s Fourth of July celebration
By Steve Huffman
FAITH ó When the Faith Fourth of July celebration kicked off immediately after World War II, the affair wasn’t anything major.
It consisted largely of uniformed veterans who had recently returned from the war marching in formation. There were even a couple of jeeps decorated with small pine trees.
It was a lot of fun, but nothing especially large or flashy.
Times have changed. When the Faith Fourth celebration kicks off Saturday, it’ll come with bands, a Faith Idol competition, food, rides and more patriotic themes than you can shake a flag at.
The week-long celebration ends July 4 with an all-day event that starts at 10 a.m. with a parade and ends at nightfall with fireworks.
Despite any changes to the annual celebration, much remains the same, old-timey events like a watermelon-eating competition and egg tosses.
“It’s the kind of thing where, if you didn’t enjoy it, you’d have gotten out a long time ago,” said Randall Barger, a longtime volunteer and one of the 12 members of a committee whose members spend much of the year planning the celebration.
“It’s a labor of love. No one this involved can get tired of it.”
Barger said this year’s celebration follows largely those of recent years. Bands will perform each night. Sunday’s celebration is highlighted by a patriotic program sponsored by members of Faith Baptist Church.
Food booths and rides will be open each night throughout the week. The Faith Idol competition kicks off Tuesday, with preliminary rounds continuing each night until the finals on the night of July 4.
“We try to make it fun for everyone,” Barger said of all that goes into planning the huge celebration. “We try to offer something that we feel will appeal to almost everyone.”
Sir Purr, the mascot for the Carolina Panthers, will serve as grand marshal for the parade. Barger said there are more entries for the parade than in years past, though he said he has no idea the reason why.
An addition to this year’s celebration is a re-enactment planned by the 63rd Regiment of the N.C. Confederate troops that will be held the evening of July 4 on the grounds of Faith Elementary.
Barger said that over the years, organizers have attempted to estimate the turnout for the Faith celebration. He said doing so is akin to counting grains of sand on the beach, though by blowing up photos of spectators lining the route, he’s come up with a figure of 25,000 to 30,000 in attendance for the parade alone.
Barger estimates that about 80,000 people visit Faith over the week for the town’s celebration.