Pine Tree Festival


Seventy-eight years ago, I stood curbside as a few floats circled the courthouse square. I had no comprehension of what this was or would become. I do not recall if SHS had a band at that time. I do recall the first queen, beautiful Ann Garrett, and a king sitting on the last float. It was not a long parade, but the excitement lasted all day. Several refreshments stand perched on courthouse lawn. The longest line went to a small machine standing alone and putting a pink mass that resembled a cloud onto a cone. First taste into your mouth was magic. It disappeared with each bite. Cotton Candy arrived on the first Pine Tree festival. The festival grew larger and more exciting each year. My highlight was the 1950 Festival. My friend Bunny Bailey and her future husband, Grady Johnson, were on the float as king and queen. Union-Camp had taken an interest and provided trophies and rewards for participants. I entered an essay contest and won the prize of a five-dollar check from Union-Camp, trip to Savannah on a bus and tour of the paper mill. To me, this was a great as a Pulitzer Prize. The guided tour of Savannah gave me a forever love of the history. This was topped off by dinner in dining room of the DeSota Hotel and a swim in the pool. I was intrigued by the process of turning pulp wood logs from Emanuel County forests into paper bags. Could this have been a premonition that my future husband would spend his successful career in the paper industry.