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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Show-n-Shine Car Show, 1999 Festival
Show-n-Shine Car Show, 1999 Uniquely Union Festival

Uniquely Union Festival

An annual four-day fall festival sponsored by Bell Atlantic Mobile celebrates the town of Union located in Union County, South Carolina, with a plethora of events and activities. Hundreds of people turn out to eat barbecue and watch and compete in various competitions, including a car show and contest, a forestry conclave and college woodsman contest, a "Pig Out in the Park" barbecue cook off, a golf tournament, bench-press competition, and a competitive Fun Run. A juried art show and photography contest capture the attention of the more visually minded. In 1999, Uniquely Union presented a number of music and dance events, including performances on the Main Stage by cloggers, a dance company, the UHS chorus, as well as an interpretive movements group, and the Union High School Band marched down Main Street. Children were delighted by a scarecrow-building contest, story time in the Union County Library Bookmobile, a puppet show, a giant slide and moonwalk, face painting. The Bone Yard, a flea market, catered to bargain-hunters' tastes. Also available were tours of the Rose Hill Mansion, the antebellum home of South Carolina's secession Gov. William Gist. And, of course, there was food! The 1999 festival featured a "Union Sampler," with food prepared by local union cooks and restaurants.

"Uniquely Union" celebrates its local heritage. The city and county of Union derive their names from the old Union Church that stood not far from Monarch Mill. The Cherokee Indians were the first inhabitants of the area; Scotch-Irish settlers first came to Union from Virginia in 1749, followed shortly by settlers from Pennsylvania. Union County was the scene in 1780 of several significant Revolutionary War battles (Musgrove's Mill and Blackstocks). For years Union County thrived on an economy based almost entirely on the textile industry. When that industry took a downturn, the county leaders began recruiting new industries in the early 1980s to bolster the local economy. That came to fruition last year when county won the contract to be the site of Disney Direct Marketing's worldwide distribution center.

Project documentation includes a videotape of clips from the 1999 Uniquely Union Festival, twenty-nine 8 x 10 photographs, a "Union, South Carolina, Community Profile," a newspaper article on the festival and selection of programs and promotional flyers from the various events.

Originally submitted by: Jim DeMint, Representative (4th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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