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Plans set for New Year’s Eve festivities

Cities celebrate with peaches, chickens, jugs

POSTED: December 29, 2009 12:51 a.m.

New Year’s Eve may be a holiday known for exciting parties, but for several groups it is also a time to celebrate local history.

For the second year in a row, there will be a chicken drop heralding the new year at the Gainesville Civic Center.

Although they could have taken the crystal ball route like the event in New York, the Gainesville event’s sponsor say that just wouldn’t do.

“We’re here in Gainesville — the poultry capital of the world — so of course we had to have a chicken drop,” said Sue Albright, JB Jams’ co-owner.

“Atlanta has a peach drop and that has significance and so we wanted something significant too.”
In addition to bringing in the new year and honoring local history, event-goers will also have the opportunity to help the community.

“The (event) will benefit the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia,” said Albright.

“This is our second year (holding the chicken drop). Before that, there really wasn’t anything else for adults to go out and do — that’s why we decided to fill the need. It has been really well-received by the community — people can get out and dance, enjoy a breakfast buffet and just have fun while benefiting a good cause.”

While Gainesville residents will be paying tribute to poultry, folks in Winder will be focused on pottery.

Prior to 1900, the area was known as Jug Tavern and encompassed portions of Jackson, Gwinnett and Walton counties. On July 7, 1914, the city was incorporated into the newly formed Barrow County.

There are many theories about how the area received its original name.

Some county officials say that the town was named after the shape of land cleared in the area resembled a jug.

Others, including Beth Barton, Barrow County Historical Society trustee, say that the area was known for its production of pottery, including moonshine “jugs,” which would explain the city’s name. There was also formerly an establishment known as Jug Tavern at the location where the three original counties merged in the town.

No matter the origin of the town’s original name, celebrants will be ringing in 2010 as a jug descends from the hanging tower at the old Barrow County Jail, which is now the home of the Barrow County Museum.

“No one was ever hanged from the tower. Hanging was abolished in 1915 when the town was established,” said Albright.

The free, family friendly event is being sponsored by the county’s historical society as a way to draw attention to the abundance of local history housed in the museum.

“We have been open for 15 years and still have people in the county and other parts of Georgia that are not aware of this great community asset,” said Barton. “There is no charge for admittance at any time and the building is full of artifacts and photos given to us by Barrow County citizens and their families. Each month we have a new feature display. For December, we have a huge whiskey still on loan to us from the North Georgia Mountain Fair. This display ties in perfectly with the Jug Drop since illegal whiskey running was a well-known crime in the area during prohibition.”

The Winder event will include live music, free drawings for gifts from local merchants and a “Miss Jug” contest in which men will dress as women and take part in a talent competition.



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