USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘fourth of july’
Customs
Festival
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Rubber Ducky River Race

Main Piece

“So, every July 4thin Florence Oregon, they have the annual Rubber duck race. You buy a rubber duck. And usually there are hundreds of people that do this, so it’s like hundreds of rubber ducks. They load them into these trucks. So, you have like, your number and your duck. They put them into this dump truck and they dump them all into the Siuslaw River. And they have this little course. Whosever duck crosses the finish line first gets the prize. I don’t know what the prize is because I’ve never won. But yeah, it’s this nice little tradition we have and it’s a nice, little town too so everyone plays.”

 

Context

The informant told me this story as a fun memory from the informant’s childhood. It is a fun tradition that is nostalgic to the informant because it is a time of the year where everyone in the town gets together.

This is a fun Fourth of July tradition the informant’s town held every year to celebrate the independence of the United States. She was born in Charlottesville, Virginia. She lived in Germany, Kansas, Virginia – but went back to Oregon to live at her family’s main house in Oregon. She only speaks English, but can speak parts of languages like Germany. Both parents are lawyers in the military (jags).

 

Notes

I have never heard of a town having such a large rubber duck race. My hometown has a fair every year and one of the games is a rubber duck race. But dumping an entire truckload of rubber ducks sounds like a fun and extra way to bring everyone in a small town together. It also creates a topic of discussion for everyone in that town to connect on.

Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Piggly Wiggly Day

Context

I asked the informant if he had participated in any folk group traditions — something shared by a select group of people connected through a specific shared culture or activity. In this case, the group was a marching band.

Main Piece

Alright so, I was in the drum and bugle corps, called the Madison Scouts, from… in 2015 and 2016. It’s, like, a summer thing so, like, you spend the… you pay like, three thousand dollars to tour the country with a marching band basically. And I did that for five summers, but anyways, in ’15 and ’16 I was in the Madison Scouts and they have a tradition where on the Fourth of July they go to Cedarburg, Wisconsin, and instead of calling it like the Fourth of July or Independence Day or anything they call it Piggly Wiggly Day, because — and this is not, like, all Cedarburg, Wisconsin, this is just the Madison Scouts, like, the people in the Madison Scouts, we call it Piggly Wiggly Day because one of the former members of the Madison Scouts now owns a Piggly Wiggly grocery score in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, and he caters, like, our food for an entire day from his grocery store and its like, we get kind of, like, fed, like, shit, throughout most of the summer so like, Fourth of July comes and we get like, catered shit and… it’s Piggly Wiggly Day and it’s a great time. Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

Notes

This piece reflects the diversity of the adolescent experience in America. Having grown up in southern California, I had never been to, nor heard of, the Piggly Wiggly grocery chain, while in Cedarburg Wisconsin, it held great significance for my informant and his fellow Madison Scouts. This tradition also shows the ways faceless brands and corporations often become a cherished part of people’s cultural fabric; a grocery chain feast can even replace a national holiday like Independence Day when imbued with meaning and reverence by a group of young Scouts. Piggly Wiggly Day can thus be seen as a prime example of reception theory.

Customs
Foodways
Holidays
Material
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Colombianizing the Fourth of July

Originally from Florida, this friend of mine grew up around a wide range of cultures and traditions. Raised by Haitian and Colombian immigrants, she speaks Haitian-Creole, French, English, and a little bit of Spanish. We share a love of food, and spend a lot of time talking about food and different recipes and whatnot, so when this project came down the pipeline, I knew I had to ask her about some unique, family recipes.

The following was recorded during a group interview with 4 other of our friends in the common area of a 6-person USC Village apartment.

“And then Fourth of July dinner – that’s the day my dad really likes to make the sliders with like the cheese inside. Yeah, and then he puts like pineapple jam and like pink sauce – it’s so good. He’s Columbian, so he likes to … Colombinize, Colombianize food.”

This is a perfect example of cultural fusion. To take the most American food there is on the most American holiday there is and ‘Colombianize’ the two is literally what America is all about. We come from all over the world to share our cultures and make something new and beautiful and wholly original.

Customs
Rituals, festivals, holidays

California Agricultural Festivals

My informant is originally from Santa Rosa, CA, where she grew up with some small town community ideals and in particular, festivals and annual gatherings.

She noted that there were three festivals that everyone she knew always attended, and that if you didn’t attend, it was questioned why. They were family events, and when one got older they would spend the evenings at the events with their friends.

The first festival was the Gravenstein Apple Festival in Padalum, CA. It usually took place in August, and my informant went every year with her family, just like her father had gone every year when he was younger. There were a variety of arts and crafts and apple oriented foods there at the festival. The biggest event was the pie contest, however. This event was possible because of the abundance of apples in the region, so my informant has told me. It was also used to promote local businesses as they would often donate gift baskets to give away at the event as a means to get exposure for their products. She also remembers other farm-like activities like an animal petting zoo and craft booths.

The second festival was the Sonoma County Fair  (in Santa Rosa Fair grounds).  It was the other event that you went to if you grew up in Santa Rosa. This was the presentation/competition of the animals. Kids could also enter ‘art projects.’ My informant listed cross stitch as an art project specifically. Schools promoted this festival because they passed out entry forms to the students in schools, a component that is different with contemporary folklore, using the school to promote traditional festivals.

The last annual event that my informant said she always attended was a 4th of July potluck picnic held in her court, which all of the residents would block off for the day. It would be a big potluck barbecue. Kids would ride their bikes around the court. They would have games like egg toss and water balloons for kids. When it started to get dark everyone had fireworks and everyone would set them off. The entire event lasted for about 12 hours. She noted that  the people involved with these events had usually lived in the area for a prolonged period of time and there was a real sense of community at all of the festivals.

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