Hebron's Fall Festival
The word festival is defined as a time of feasting or celebration, entertainment, or series or performance of a certain kind of merrymaking. The members of Hebron United Methodist Church fill this role every year on the third Saturday of September as they carry out the tradition that was started by their forefathers.
Hebron’s fall festival could only be traced back to the year of 1956 where it was held on church grounds. In earlier times, fall festivals were held every year in not one, but many homes in the Hebron community. The people in the community would come together in the fall of the year to help with each others crops. They would have corn husking parties where they would gather corn and put it in the barn. This was a time of hard work and long hours because the tasks had to be performed before winter set in. They would move from farm to farm to do in days what modern-day machinery can now do in a few hours.
Meals were very special. They were prepared most of the time by the younger women, as the older ones worked in the fields beside the men. The evening meals were sometimes followed by entertainment which was either story telling, music, or a time to give thanks or worship. This was a time the neighborhood could interact with each other and catch up on the news.
Wrestling matches, jumping contests, and rifle matches were enjoyed by the boys and men. Pitching horseshoes was another popular pastime.
With the Industrial Revolution came new farm machinery which cut farm work in half. For this reason, there was no longer a reason for this type of gathering on a large scale. Families could now take care of their own farms without the neighbor’s help, but the need to celebrate the end of the growing season and the gathering of the harvest still existed.
In 1956, Rev. Gayle Alexander, who was the pastor of Hebron Church at that time, recognized the need for the community to come together at this time of year. He proposed that Hebron host a Fall Festival. The purpose was to raise money for a building fund. Perhaps God was working with His people to pull them together, not only as a church, but as a community. Thus, the people of the Hebron community moved their festival from the farm to the church grounds.
At the early Fall Festivals, there were items for sale, an auction and an evening meal. Mebane merchants would donate merchandise to sell at the auction. Whites Furniture Company and Craftique Furniture Company were two of many that donated items. Local farmers donated livestock, hay, and other farm products to sell.