It’s July Fourth, 1970s Style!

There’s nothing like the Fourth of July… and no one’s done more to document its place in our local history than The Wake Weekly!

The annual celebration got its start in 1973 when a group of residents led by Janie Ali and Jerri Stenzel decided the holiday called for something more than a quiet week of vacation. Their idea appealed to newcomers, many of whom had fond memories of Independence Day parties in their own hometowns.

Needless to say, the plan was a tremendous success.

In 1977, the Wake Weekly published a July Fourth spread of 16 photographs taken by Bob Allen, Jimmy Allen, and Fred Jones.

These images–complete with original captions–are a fun, fantastic, and funky look back at the early days of what’s since become a beloved tradition in the Town of Wake Forest.

Mary Jane Kearney managed to make it away from the starting line even with two balloons during one of the “races” at the Super Stars event. The idea was to stuff the balloons under an extra t-shirt, race through the course, and then hand shirt and balloons on to a team member for the next part of the relay. The t-shirt seemed to give problems to the team to the right, the Good Lookins’.

Uncle Sam (Ryan Keith) displays the flag as he leaves the field at the fireworks program Sunday night in a Model T Ford owned and driven by H.L. Miller.

The Amran Shriner clowns tickled the fancies of young and old at the Fourth of July Children’s parade down N. Main Street.

Amy Warren found getting her picture taken was distracting enough to take her attention away from an ice cream bar during Monday’s games at the elementary field.

Laura Keith looks like she’s ready to fly, but she’s really just completing her running broad jump at the children’s track meet Saturday morning.

The rockets were red… and gold, silver, green, and blue while the bombs seemed to burst all over, not just in the air. The promise of the most spectacular fireworks show ever was achieved Sunday night.

Brenda Vaughan, John Rich, and Jesse Horton chopped, sliced, cooked, and stirred the picnic lunch.

He’s the mule and she’s the driver in the blind-folded mule race at the Super Stars, but mule William Hollis doesn’t seem to be too tractable for driver Sue Hollis.

“I was shocked,” said Mary Ray after being named Miss Fourth of July. The four other finalists, left to right, Connie Kennedy, Karla Bujewski, Sydna Ross, and Courtney Box, appear happy with the judges’ decision.

The Pledge of Allegiance captured the full attention of these future citizens who will live to celebrate, we hope, the 250th birthday of their country.

Heave ho! The Misfits gave it all they had in the tug-of-war contest at Saturday’s Super Stars competition. They couldn’t pull off a victory though, and were sprayed by ready firemen.

Mary Ray, later crowned Miss Fourth of July, models in the evening wear competition.

Karla Bujewski, first runner-up, models sportswear as judge Ed McIntyre, Channel 5 television personality, looks on intently.

Trey Hauser captured the attention of photographer Bob Allen, on the ground, and Fred Jones, in the town’s electric bucket truck. Despite Trey’s determined assault on the greased pole, which included hanging on with his teeth, he was not able to make his way to the $10 bill on top.

The Wake Forest Kickers square dancing group entertained the crowd of nearly 300 at the pageant with some high-steppin’, fancy footwork.

“Everyone has his own way of celebrating the Fourth of July, whether it’s oohing and aahing the fireworks, viewing the Children’s Parade, playing games, watching pretty girls, or saluting our flag and nation on its 201st birthday.

What makes it all so special is celebrating the holiday with friends. The smiles, fun times, and even the more serious moments will always be remembered because they were shared with friends.

And that’s what makes the Fourth of July… Wake Forest style… so memorable.”

One comment

  1. Great reminder of July 4th celebrations. This should appeal to older Town folks, particularly those with no College or University affiliation.

    Thanks Jennifer!

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