1948 COMMUNITY Fair Day

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 16: Celebrations, Special and Annual Events
By Topic: Celebrations


TAGS: 1948 Community Fair Day ; Community Fair ; community events ; fairs ; Pine Mountain Settlement School Community ; farming ; farms ; weavings ; weaving ; embroidery ; sewing ; canned goods ; garden products ; poultry ; flowers ; canning ; pickles ; Medical Clinic ; health check-ups ; medicine ; barbecue ; mutton ; beef ; pork ; ballads ; singing ; movies ; ball games ; calling contests ; chicken calling ; hog calling ; sheep calling ; cow calling ; prizes ; music ; educational exhibits ; home products ; cooking ; cakes ; honey ; breads ; corn shuck crafts ; crochet ; furniture ; brooms ; soaps ; rugs ; coverlets ; quilts ; jellies ; jams ; 

The Community Fair Day is one of many annual events that has a long history at Pine Mountain Settlement School. It started in 1917 as an extension of the Harlan County Fair and the School’s “Farmer’s Day.”

While the fundamental program of the Fair has remained remarkably consistent, the scale and scope of the Fair have varied from year to year as interest in fairs has waxed and waned in the School, the community, and the nation.

The following are transcriptions of two articles that appeared in October 1948 issue of THE PINE CONE, a PMSS student publication. Fair Day of 1948 is described in detail as seen through the eyes of the student writers.

[The Pine Cone, Oct 1948, pages 11-12.]

[Transcriptions have been slightly edited.]

Fair Impressions

Laughing, talking, singing, and shouting were all mixed together at the fair in Sept. Everywhere I looked I could see people shaking hands or smacking their lips as they ate a good barbecue sandwich. By the looks on their faces, you could see that they were having a good time.

I believe that the biggest hit among the small children was the balloons, although they were always wanting a “tone of ice tream.” Some of the little girls couldn’t blow up their balloons, and you could see them running around everywhere, trying to find someone to help them.

The babies seemed to be enjoying themselves, although I am sure they didn’t know anything at all about fair day. They seemed to enjoy their mothers’ carrying them around and showing them off to the crowd. There was one baby that I purely loved. She had blonde hair, blue eyes, and was as cute as could be.

The students working on fair day were very funny if you watched them for long. They would be working to “beat sixty” and then would yell out, “Right this way for hot dogs, candy, bananas!” Then they would begin working again and would yell, “I bet we can sell more than you can!” and all the time be working. Then they would yell, “I’m freezing to death. I think I’ll buy me some coffee so I can get warm,” or “I think I’ll get me a blanket to wrap up in.” Even tho the students yelled a lot, they worked faithfully and didn’t complain.

Everyone was talking to people he knew and people whom he had just met. There were laughing and talking about things which had happened a long time ago and things which had happened recently. Everyone seemed, somehow, to find a place in which he fitted, and none was left out.

Groups of people were talking and laughing. Here would be a bunch of farmers talking about weather and their crops and, somewhere, in another place you could see a bunch of women gossiping.

People from several different towns and hollows were here. Some were crudely dressed in their overalls or blue jeans, while others were fashionably dressed in fine apparel.

All of the small boys were buying balloons and blowing them up. Sometimes they would blow them up just to see them burst. I blew one up and caused it to pop near some girls who jumped as if they were shot.

People were all laughing, talking and shaking hands with their old friends. You probably heard people from the community saying to friends they had just discovered, “Well, I want you to look, if there hain’t Aunt Polly!” or you heard, “Why, howdy, Aunt Jane, how are ye these days?” or “Hit shore is good to see ye in good shape, Uncle John” and lots of similar expressions. You also heard the children yelling with excitement and asking their mothers for tickets to buy ice cream and candy.

People were looking at the exhibitions and saying, “Well, I never seen nothin’ in my whole life to beat hit.” They had lots of other compliments about the other displays, too.

One old woman came over and ate more strawberry ice cream than I could eat in two days. I thought I ate a lot of ice cream, but she made me think that I could eat more if I wanted to go to the hospital.

The Junior Class

[The Pine Cone, October 1948, pages 13-15.]

Fair Day Program

“Heigh-ho, Come to the Fair.” Yes, this was the long-awaited day. The peal of the youthful voices rang out upon the stilled air where the audience listened to the singing of the annual songs, “Heigh-ho, Come to the Fair” and “America the Beautiful,” by the Pine Mt. students. The excitement rose steadily higher as the program was begun.

First, Mr. [H.R.S.] Benjamin extended a welcome to all the visitors who had come from far and near. Next, the county agent made a brief talk, urging us to observe the exhibits. He also explained the importance of cover crops and expressed his appreciation for this and other fairs.

The story of the “gol-darnedest stalk of corn that ever grew,” taken from “Grandfather Tales,” was “broadcast” by Carlos Banks, a senior at Pine Mt. School.

The Creech School students proudly stood up to sing us a song which they had learned at School.

“Allemando left with your corner, allemando right with your partner, allemando left with your corner, and the grand right and left.” Into the full swing went an old-fashioned square dance by a set of eight people. In and out they turned and swung, keeping every step in time with the music.

The Little Laurel students sang, “I Think When I Read That Sweet Story of Old,” “The Wise Man and the Foolish Man” and “The Lord Is My Shepherd.” Other children from Little Laurel sang solos and duets so you can see that we had much singing on our program this year.

A little girl with bobbing curls and a pretty yellow dress climbed gaily to the steps of the schoolhouse to tell us the story of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” with several very entertaining versions, all of which displayed real dramatic ability.

A spelling match with the local elementary schools competing then took place. There were students from Bear Branch, Creech, Little Laurel, Coyle’s Branch, Divide and Isaac’s Creek schools. Coleen Jackson from Little Laurel was the winner; Mabel Lewis from Coyle’s Branch where one of our own Pine Mt. students, Ray Banks, is now teaching after completing his work here two years ago, won second prize. Juanita Coots from Little Laurel won third prize.

The crowd was literally charmed by the telling of a Dick [Richard] Chase tale by the author of “Grandfather Tales” himself. “How Bobtail Beat the Devil” was the name of the yarn and it was one of the highlights of the program.

“My man John” came to life as we saw the ballad by that name dramatized on the stage. In the end, the gentleman won the love of the little lady who was fluttering her fan.

L.K. Hendrix, one of Pine Mt.’s new students, did a hoedown and was followed by a set of four couples who danced Cumberland Sq. Eight.

As the program ended, the hungry crowd dashed for the food stands where delicious barbecue sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, candy, peanuts and all rest of our favorite foods were sold.

At the infirmary clinic set up by Dr. Elizabeth, Miss Becker, Miss [Grace] Rood and student assistants under the tree by the fountain, free shots were given to anyone who wished to have them, and pamphlets on baby care were given away.

The display of farm produce and handicrafts made by the School was excellent. Mr. [William] Hayes and his farm helpers had an exhibit of corn, beets, tomatoes, green beans, turnips, apples, cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, peas, green peppers, lettuce and cabbage of the finest this valley can produce.

There were woven pieces and woodwork made by the Pine Mountain students. The boys had on display some of the woven articles made by them during the past summer.

From our neighbors in the community came brooms, made by Mrs. Frank Hall, sunflower heads brought in by Mart Baker, a tassel of sorghum seed by Charlie Cornett and chestnut burrs, which many of us thought to be extinct now, by Arnie Hall.

Cleverly done by Little Laurel students were log cabins made from corn stalks, animals made from clothespins, booklets on Ky., samples of spattering and letters written in school.

From Divide School came dolls, made from acorns and corn shocks, pincushions, potholders, notebooks and scrapbooks. Incline School brought pincushions, potholders, towels and scarfs.

The excited crowd milled around to see all there was to see. Some were visiting their children who are students at Pine Mt. Interest was raised to its highest peak when Putney and Pine Mt. swung into a doubleheader softball game. With the loyal support of the girls to assist them our team was victorious.

The hands of the clock moved too quickly around, it seemed. Most of the food had been sold and people had already started on their way home. Once again Fair Day had come to an end. For everyone, it was a grand day, but seniors blinked back tears as they realized that this was their last Fair Day while students at Pine Mountain.

Leone Sturgill