HICKORY GROVE — The town of Hickory Grove is gearing up to celebrate its 125 years this weekend with a two-day bash that includes a community singing, costume contest, historical demonstrations, fireworks and more.
Don Rhodes, co-chairman of the town’s 125th anniversary celebration committee with his wife, Linda, said organizers planned the celebration Friday and Saturday to coincide with the popular Hickory Grove Christmas Parade at 3 p.m. Saturday.
“It’s a moment in history,” Rhodes said. “We tried to make it kind of a fun day in Hickory Grove, to remember some of the older ways and the people who were here and to have a good time.”
The town of Hickory Grove, home to about 450 residents, was incorporated in December 1888, and each year everyone is invited to celebrate the anniversary of the town on the first weekend in December.
In 1988, Hickory Grove celebrated its 100-year anniversary. This year 1,000 people are expected to attend. Town Hall officials are encouraging residents to decorate their homes and invite family and friends to the celebration.
Hickory Grove Mayor Larry Earl said town leaders are thrilled to be able to put on the event. Earl said he became mayor at the 100-year celebration and has served the town for the past 25 years.
“We’re a small community that’s tightly knit,” Earl said. “You wave at everybody, which is something you don’t see in bigger towns, and you know most everybody.”
Balloon release, fireworks
The events begin Friday at Hickory Grove-Sharon Elementary School, where local historian Jerry West will give a program to students at noon, followed by a 2 p.m. balloon release.
At 7 p.m. Friday, Mount Vernon United Methodist Church will host a community singing event involving area churches and a historical costume contest. Costume contest winners will ride in the Christmas parade Saturday, he said.
On Saturday, a day of events includes historical demonstrations beginning at 11 a.m. on Main Street, with craft and food vendors and music by Shayne Clayton and The Farm Boys Band.
An opening ceremony will be at 1 p.m. with the York Comprehensive High School ROTC and the National Anthem sung by Amy Ramsey Lawton. A 100-year time capsule will be opened, and a 125-year capsule will be dedicated.
The 3 p.m. Christmas parade is a highlight of the day.
Evening events include a hobo supper from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Mount Vernon UMC, featuring a meal of pinto beans, black-eyed peas, mac and cheese, cooked cabbage, slaw, cornbread, dessert and drinks. Cost is $6 adults and $3 for children.
The supper will be followed by 7 p.m. closing ceremony at Hickory Grove ARP Church. The closing ceremony will include music by the Hickory Grove-Sharon Elementary fourth grade chorus and stories about Hickory Grove by West.
Fireworks at 8 p.m. wrap up the events.
“One-hundred and twenty-five years is a great milestone to be proud of, and we’re glad to celebrate this high point with the town of Hickory Grove and encourage all of York County residents and visitors to join us in the celebrations,” says Lisa Meadows, executive director of the Rock Hill/York County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Jennifer Becknell • 803-329-4077