For the last few weeks we’ve taken a good look at summer traditions throughout the world. This week we continue this series by taking a look at a few summer traditions that are celebrated right here in America every year. When you imagine a typical American summer tradition, you probably think of parades with floats adorned with American Flags, patriotic bunting, and pennant strings going down Main Street while people toss candy and treats to everyone they pass by. Or perhaps you think of parks filled with kids playing baseball and then having picnics filled with hotdogs and hamburgers. While these are some of the more common summer traditions found in America, we wanted to highlight a few of the lesser known summer festivals and traditions that take place throughout the good ol’ U.S. of A.
Every year in June, Spivey’s Corner, North Carolina celebrates the distinguished art of Hollerin’. Hollerin’ can be broken down into 4 distinct categories, distress, functional, communicative, and pleasure. Hollering is celebrated in this specific town due to the special relationship the town has with Hollerin’ as described below.
In ages past, Hollerin’ helped solve many a community problem. This was true on a dark November night in 1959 as the members and friends of Shady Grove OFWB Church in the Spivey’s Corner community stood by helplessly as they watched their church burn.
At that time, the Spivey’s Corner community had to depend on the Newton Grove area fire department which was 8 miles away, the Dunn Fire Department which is 11 miles away and the Clinton Fire Department a very long 18 miles away. Often by the time the fire trucks had arrived there was nothing left to be saved.
Following the tragedy of losing their church, a community meeting was held on December 30, 1959 to explore the possibility of organizing a Volunteer Fire Department. Before the next meeting was even held, it was apparent the community wanted and needed its own fire department. The vote was unanimous. This meeting approved the name of “Spivey’s Corner” as the official community name. A used fire truck in Marlboro, Maryland, was purchased for $500. W.C. West donated the use of a building to house the truck. By February 6, 1960, the community had $81.93 in the treasury and Alton Warwick was elected Fire Chief.
This was a dream come true in a community with an urgent need.
To spread a fire alarm, the members were able to use telephones instead of Hollerin’. The first fire notice to go out went to the Chief or his wife, who in turn telephoned two other firemen, who then notified two other firemen and down the line. This system was used until December of 1964.
Well there you have it; one of America’s stranger pastimes of Hollerin’ is explained as having once been a function to save the lives of communities who did not have immediate access to phones. Today’s Hollerin’ that takes place at this festival is, of course, for recreation though and is seen as a good time by all who show up.