Patriotism at its finest
Story by Angelina Bellebuono - Photos by Angelina Bellebuonon and Patrick Yost
Ask any local. No one looks grander in red, white and blue than Morgan County. She and her people know well how to celebrate Independence Day. And this year was no exception, with festive Fourth offerings beginning Thursday evening and lasting through the weekend.
Patriotic wear and décor was the rage on the Cultural Center lawn Thursday evening, where the stars and stripes made bold appearances on everything from shirts to pins, hats to hairbows. Old Glory adorned handheld fans and stood proud among flowers and balloons on tables filled with delectable picnic fare. Hair ribbons fluttered in the unusually pleasant breeze as Elsie Monk’s star-spangled soprano welcomed the revelers. A nightcap of color came from the fireworks’ display created and produced by city employees- sparkling showers painting fountains of light in the inky darkness.
Undaunted by escalating diesel prices, farmers cranked the engines of their antique tractors Friday morning for a parade alongside a Rutledge field of gold. In Buckhead and Bostwick, volunteers gathered around smoke and fire to summon the flavors of perfect barbecue.
Many Morgan County families dined progressively in honor of the holiday- a delectable pork barbecue lunch in North Morgan, a brief afternoon respite, followed by melt-in-your-mouth chicken barbecue at supper in East Morgan. More fireworks. More color. More sparkle. All in the real Buckhead, of course.
Saturday’s torrential rain didn’t stop sunflower worshippers. Despite an afternoon of stormy skies over Rutledge, FFA volunteers and Station 9 firefighters remained at the festival, requesting flower-gatherers to exit the field as warnings sounded from the weather radios. Until the first raindrop fell, visitors added the Midas-touched, helianthus blooms to the bouquets spilling from their arms.
Although the downpour thinned the festival crowd, as the first sun-ray broke through the leaden sky, cars began arriving again. More visitors poured into the field. Bouquets with heavy, golden heads moved jauntily above and past their stationary kin.
Nighttime again would promise fireworks. The wet earth did not deter the revelry or dampen the spirits while children played and adults joined in neighborly fellowship at Centennial Baptist. As night chased dusk into a memory, the crowd watched yet one more time as the sky played canvas to the area’s final kaleidoscopic light show honoring our country's independence, and this county's