Grovetown turned 125 years old Saturday with fond reflections on its past and high spirits for its future.
The fourth annual Grovetown Heritage Festival, a celebration of the city's history, featured women dressed in 1881-era hoop skirts, square dancing to country standards, remembrances of milestones in the city's history, live music, martial arts demonstrations, sack races and other children's games, and more than 60 vendors.
The city was incorporated in 1881 and owes its start to the railroad, which splits the city on its way to Augusta.
The festival kicked off shortly after 9 a.m. with prayers and the singing of the national anthem by the U.S. Navy Choir, which was followed by a 5K run/walk to benefit the Grovetown Against Drugs Free Summer Day Camp.
Children dived down inflatable slides as square dancers showed off their moves. Children's games such as the sack races seemed to be a hit with 8-year-old Dallas Edwards, of Grovetown. Just moments into the festival, Dallas began racking up trinkets with winning turns at the sack races.
"I won three armbands," he shouted, after his third win of the morning.
Festival organizer Rosa Lee Owens, dressed in a 19th century indigo hoop skirt, called the festival a success.
"It (went) really well," she said. "We've been really impressed with what we've seen. The performers have been excellent and the audience has participated."
Just after noon, Mayor Dennis Trudeau led residents by singing Happy Birthday to You to the city, Grovetown United Methodist Church and The Columbia County News-Times, all of which turn 125 this year.
"It brings out the best to celebrate the past and look forward to the future and see new growth," the mayor said.
Grovetown has made a lot of progress in the 40 years that Owens has lived in the city, she said.
The view behind her house was once a field, but now the entire city is developing, she said. The city, Owens said, has its ancestors to thank for its foundation for years to come. Trudeau said the Heritage Festival was an important day of remembrance as the city grows and moves into the future.
"If we forget our past we usually blunder in our future," Trudeau said. "What we do today affects the children growing up."
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