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An Old Time Fourth

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The Fonrth of July in Kentncky in olden times was a universal holiday and a general jabilee. It was usually celebrated by a "barbecue and bran dance," "institutions"' that have well nigh become things of the past, and live now chiefly in the memory of old timers. A cool and shady spot, accesaible to a largecomm-unity, was selected for the jubilee, and fitted out with pits on which to "barbecue" pigs, lambs and beeves. Conveuient to the pits were long rows of tables, and on them were spread, as accompaniments to the piles of crisp, brown meat, liberalstacksof baked chickeng, vegetables, pickles, pies, cakes, etc A large and roomy stand built against giant beeches served for the accommodation of the speakers, and in front of this were seats for the audience, the whole beiag completely Bhaded by the tree tops overhead. The dance yard was a huge arbor, sotnetimes 75 feet long aud 50 feet wide, built on a framework of stout posts and poles, and covered with green bushes, while there was a raised stand in the center for the fiddlers and banjoists, and seats arranged around the outer edge for those who did not join in the dance. The ground had beenscraped to a smooth, hard surface, until it was perfectly level, was covered three or four incbes deep with wheat bran, making a velvety and springy footing for dancers that nothing else could eqnal. Sawdust was sometimes used, but bran was preferred, henee the term "bran dance." The people carne to the "barbecue" in crowds írom every dircetion and in all . aorta of ways. The aristocratie planters I and their families in carriages; the poorer farmers and their wives and children in , wagons and oxcarts; yoang ladies and gentlemen in buggies and on horseback; hunt; ers vrith their rifles and dogs, and others i on foot, with negroes here, there and everywhere. i About 11 o'clock the assemblage was called together by the blowing of a horn, and the exercises of the day begnn. A venerable preacher opened the proceedings with prayer, and then came the reading of the Declaration of Independence by an old veteran. ïhis was the "crowning honor" of the day, and the quaint langUHge and tremulons tones of the aged reader gave additional interest to the impressiveness of the occasion. The orator of the day was usually the congressman for the district. After this were several impromptu addresses by persons called for by the crowd, and in these there was much of the spread eagle style, but they were all brimful of patriotism, and were pathetic or hnmorons as best suited the speaker's whim. Party politics were ignored, and Whigs and Democrats for the time forgot partisan questions and differences, and linied arms for the joyful occasion. Immediately at the conclusión of the speaking dinner was announced, and a general invitation was extended íor "every body to help themselves,"as there was plenty to eat and the folks were expected to eat it, "ladies to have first places and attendance at the tables, but room enough for all." Wherenpon the crowd adjourned to the tables, which were literally loaded with "barbecue" and everything else in the way of substantial and tempting food. There was also a generous supply of sparkling eider, as well as peach and apple brandy and "old sour mash" whisky, for toddies and mint juleps. The liqnid refreshments were indulged in freely, but drunkenness and disorder rarely ensued. The residents of the immediate neighborhood considered themsel ves as hoste, and saw that every one was bountifully served. After dinner there was a general movement to the arbor and an intermingling oL the people. Acquaintances were renewed, strangers were introduced and partners selected, and the floor was soon filled with sets of daucers. The music was furnished by four fiddles, two banjos and a tambourine, and a prompter called the figures for cotillons or quadrilles. The dance went merrily on till sundown, when many parties repaired to neighboring houses to continue the Fourth of July frolic until the dawn of the 5th or later. The old folks and otherssoberly inclined enjoyed themselves as best they chose, some watching the dancers and others discussing the "craps" and matters of local and general interest, whüe the children engaged in romps and games. Generally a number of enthusiastic horsemen chose a level stretch of road and had fine sport at quarter racing, while the hunters got up a shooting match, and the sharp crack of the rifle mingled with the music of the dancers and the cheers and shouts of the racers. Taking it all in all, a Kentucky Fourth of July was a most enjoyable affair, and, many a far off wanderer f rom his old Kentucky home would gladly travel back to join in an old fashioned "barbecue and bran dance" cetebration.