Gearing up for Faith Fourth

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 26, 2013

SALISBURY — Every year since the early 1950s, John “Howard” Haynes has helped power the Faith Fourth of July festival.
He quietly hooks up the lights, runs electrical wires and makes sure the food truck stays cold.
This year, Hayes has been chosen as the grand marshal for the July 4 parade. But the World War II veteran says he doesn’t need the honor.
“I don’t do it for all that,” Hayes said Monday as he installed light bulbs at a food stand. “I just do what they want me to do.”
The week-long Faith Fourth celebration begins at 6 p.m. this Thursday with rides, food, music and other entertainment. The events take place at the American Legion Park and the Faith Elementary School grounds.
Hayes will lead the Fourth of July parade that starts at 10 a.m. next Thursday, July 4. At the end of the parade, Miss Rowan County Veteran will be crowned.
Races, games, a watermelon eating contest and an egg toss will take place at 7 p.m. that evening, and starting at 9 p.m., a DJ will play music.
Finally, the fireworks themselves will begin at 10:30 p.m.
“There will be a musical medley to ‘One Nation Under God’ at 10 p.m.,” said organizer and Civitan Club member Randall Barger. “We will honor veterans, firefighters, policemen and emergency workers at that time.”
Starting this Thursday, a variety of bands and music artists will perform at 7 p.m. nightly.
The initial rounds of the Faith Idol competition will take place at 8:30 p.m. on three nights. Thursday evening, competitors ages 12 and under will take the stage. Juniors will perform Friday and adults will peform Monday.
The Faith Idol finalists will compete at 7 p.m. on the Fourth.
Rowan Big Band will perform at Faith Baptist Church at 4 p.m. Sunday, followed by the annual church patriotic program at 5 p.m.
Attendance depends heavily on the weather, Barger said, but about 25,000 or 30,000 people are expected to come to the parade on the morning of the Fourth.
More will arrive later in the day for fireworks, increasing that total as high as 70,000 people. That also doesn’t count attendance for previous days.
In a town with a population of less than 1,000, finding parking for all of the visitors in cars can be a challenge.
“If you don’t get a spot at one of the church parking lots, don’t panic,” said organizer and Legion Auxiliary member Gloria Wilhelm.
Barger said he encourages people to get to Faith for the fireworks before 7 p.m. Deputies from the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office will help direct people to open parking lots.
“This is our first time coordinating with the sheriff’s department, and they’ve been great,” Barger said.
Also new this year is a parking shuttle.
Drivers will be able to park at the Jaycee Ballpark on Jaycee Street, Barger said. Shuttles will run to the festival until about 10 p.m., and they will resume after the fireworks to take people back to their cars.
The week-long festivities are sponsored by the Faith Civitan Club, the Faith Jaycees, the Faith American Legion and the Faith Legion Auxiliary. All proceeds go toward scholarships, local schools, local libraries, park improvements and other needs in the town and the surrounding community.
Today, Faith Jaycees will begin preparing about 200 pork shoulders to serve in barbecue sandwiches over the next few days. Next week, they’ll cook another batch for the Fourth.
To prepare for the massive event, organizers have ordered about 7,000 fans, 100 cases of water, 170 cases of Cheerwine products and 210 cases of Pepsi products.
Wilhelm estimates the Faith Fourth festival will require about 5,000 hot dogs, 8,000 hamburgers and about 1,000 pounds of grilled country ham.

Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.