The small town of Faith is located in eastern Rowan County. Since 1946 the small town has hosted a Fourth of July celebration with patriotic pride. A week-long celebration requires a great deal of planning by the sponsoring organizations and community volunteers. The Faith Fourth of July Celebration is sponsored by the Faith American Legion Post #327, the Faith American Legion Auxiliary Unit #327, The Faith Civitans, and the Faith Jaycees. The celebration has been called one of the biggest Fourth of July Celebrations in the state of North Carolina.
The town of Faith was incorporated in 1903 and around that time a handful of area residents gathered to honor their Confederate War veterans with a picnic and games. The Peeler family, operators of a number of business’s in Faith, was instrumental in these initial get togethers on the Fourth of July. The Fourth Celebrations were more like family picnics with few activities. A citizen remembers the greasy pole that proved a challenge for one soldier in the crowd. Also, races were a favorite and a horse drawn merry-go-round was a rather unusual attraction.
The Faith’s Fourth of July Celebration was originally sanctioned by the town government in 1920, the sad conditions of wars and general economic distress intervened. Gatherings were sporadic. The end of World War II brought back happier times. The annual celebration was revived. Before Ray McCombs, life long resident and active supporter of the celebration made a comment that organizers received quite a shock when twice as any participants showed up as were expected. It also noted that food quickly ran out and Faith’s cooks went to their own kitchens to bring more food. Strategic planning takes on a clear meaning for those with the responsibility for the upcoming celebration. Currently 30,000 people attend the mile-and-a-half parade. Most of these stay for the day in Faith
The menu on the Fourth of July that the civic and community volunteers prepare consists of the following:
4500 pounds of barbecued shoulders
5000 hot dogs
1800 pound of country ham
5000 ice cream cones
2500 pounds of cabbage for making slaw
The volunteers arrive very early on the morning of the fourth to prepare the food. Smoke fills the air as the shoulders are taken off the pits to be chopped for sandwiches. The charcoal grills are fired up to prepare the hamburgers and country ham. The dedication of community volunteers continue to work the food booths throughout the day of July 4th.
The day is usually very hot and humid with a scattered thunderstorm. Sometimes that thunderstorm lights up the sky with mammoth fireworks display which culminates the annual Fourth of July celebration.
Many people in Faith are related, and it is a family tradition to come to the Fourth of July celebration each year, almost as in a family reunion. As children grow up and marry or move away, many come back for the Fourth of July in Faith.
Patriotism is instilled in residents from birth. The town decorates the streets and their homes with flags to show their patriotism.
The four sponsoring civic organizations use the proceeds from the Fourth of July Celebration for scholarships, local school needs, local library needs, park improvements, and other town/community needs.
President George Bush attended the celebration in 1992. Having the President of the United States drop by for a ballgame ( he played ), lunch and a speech was an all-time high for the residents and guests that attended in 1992.
The Fourth of July offers an old-fashion good time. Events during the day include old favorites like the sack race, the three-legged race and the piggy back race. There is also a watermelon eating contest, a shoe and egg toss.
All activities take place on the Faith American Legion Park and Faith Elementary School grounds. Children like the celebration due to the rides that come in for a week. A special rate for rides set for a ” Saturday Matinee ” and a week night. Also , food and concessions vendors come to the celebration according to availability of space.
The Fourth of July Celebration Committee extends an invitation for new comers to check out their celebration. The town of Faith really shows their true colors of red, white and blue each July 4th.