July 4th Holiday
Moreland offers small-town flavor
Moreland offers up a Mayberry-flavored serving of small town food, festivities and family.
This is particularly so each July 4, when area churches join forces to cook and serve barbecue. Vendors bring honey, candles, tie-dyed shirts, homebaked cakes and cookies to town. Someone sings the National Anthem, and Scouts and bicycles bedecked in red, white and blue are part of the day.
“It was a really fun day,” said Carol Chancey, who directs tourism activities in town through the Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance. MCAA sponsors the Puckett Station Arts and Crafts Festival each July 4.
The centerpiece of Moreland’s Independence Day celebration is the barbecue – a tradition dating to 1947. Area churches have sponsored the event for years, and Bethlehem Baptist joined longtime sponsors First Baptist of Moreland and Moreland United Methodist Church this year.
Jimmy Evans, Bethlehem’s pastor, took a turn stirring one of the big black pots of Brunswick stew. People lined up at the Lewis Grizzard Memorial Barbecue Pavilion to buy plates – and then ate outdoors and at several spots in the Moreland Mill.
The patriotic bike parade was not scheduled this year, but took place anyway. About a dozen area youngsters festooned their bicycles with bunting and took a couple of turns around the town square.
“We will definitely bring this back next year,” said Winston Skinner, MCAA president. “It is something people want. One lady told me it just wouldn’t be July 4 without the bike parade.”
Sara Suberg and Alan Rhinehart brought corn, tomatoes and potatoes from MCAA’s God’s Little Acre garden and set up a table on Main Street. Rhinehart, who oversees the garden project, made at least three trips back to the garden to gather during the day.
Laura Jones said she “was honored” when she was asked to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” for opening ceremonies for the Puckett Station Festival. She said the job comes with a bit of stress. “You don’t want to mess this up,” she said.
Jones was accompanied by guitarist Denver Atwood. Atwood and Jones are part of Unevolved, a praised band at First Baptist in Moreland. A color guard from Boy Scout Troop 48 presented the colors.
Visitors enjoyed browsing with vendors in the Moreland Mill and on the lawn of Moreland Methodist. The Methodist fellowship hall housed a massive indoor yard sale, and members of the church’s quilters group sold raffle tickets.
For about two hours, Skinner, a local historian and writer who is also an editor at The Times-Herald, offered the Moreland’s Family Tree event. People stopped by tables in the newly renovated section of the Moreland Mill that is slated to return to its former status as a local history museum.
Skinner displayed his own family tree – stretching back to two Revolutionary War soldiers who spent their last years in the Moreland area. “I had a ball,” Skinner said. “Several folks stopped by, and we got people in the Whitley, Lamb and Calhoun families started on family tree charts.”