Christmas in South Boston
In early to mid December, South Boston always has a Christmas parade. Local businesses contribute floats and general cash to organise the parade, there are local marching bands, choirs, horses, and sometimes fire engines. I remember when I was little (early '70s) watching one from the second floor of the building where the old Fuller's store was located. Sometimes, it can get wickedly cold for the parade. Also, Downtown South Boston really knows how to decorate for Christmas and they always have as far back as my memory goes. The day after Thanksgiving in 2006, I came back to town while Mama and Grandma were shopping to see how they do it now. If anything, the decorations are even more elabourate than when I was a kid.
Gov. William Munford Tuck
William Munford "Bill" Tuck was governor of Virginia from 1945-49 and a U.S. Congressman for the 5th district from 1953-69. He was a conservative Democrat, who would probably have been a Republican today. Aside from being all that, a teacher, and a lawyer, Gov. Tuck was good friends with Grandpa Terry. When he served in Congress, he would return home to South Boston just to have Grandpa (who worked at Via's Jewelry) to repair his watch. By the time I came along, he had retired from politics. I remember him greeting me regularly as I would play in Grandma Terry's front yard. Gov. Tuck died in 1983. I loved to talk politics with him. Pictured is a likeness of the governor hard at work at his desk featured in the South Boston Museum. At the Tuck exhibit in the museum is a television interview of the former governor taken in the late 1970s on the time he had to avert an electrical workers' strike by drafting them into an elite unit in the Virginia National Guard. A local general aviation airport and a highway are named for him.
Downtown South Boston Farmers' Market
The Downtown South Boston Farmers' Market, located in the lower public parking area on Broad Street. It is open every Tuesday and Thursday in the spring, summer, and early autumn, beginning at 2:30pm and every Saturday, beginning at 7:30am. Since it began in 1987, the market has offered fresh locally-grown produce as well as home-baked goods and other locally produced items. My grandma Terry lived long enough to enjoy coming here and getting produce fresher than at any supermarket.
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The Virginia Cantaloupe festival is a fundraising event like Virgilina's Summerfest which showcases the locally grown fruit. In grocery stores as far away as Roanoke and Lynchburg, people look forward to the summer when Halifax County cantaloupes come in as they are far superiour to those shipped up there most of the year from Florida or Latin America. When it started in 1981, it was held in the neighbouring town of Turbeville (west of town on Route 360). It has expanded such that it is now held at the South Boston Speedway.
The Burton Brothers of NASCAR
Possibly the most famous South Bostonians since William Tuck are the Burton Brothers (Ward and Jeff). Well before they came on the scene, NASCAR has always been big in South Boston with a minor track just outside of town, together with its relative proximity to the Winston Cup track in Martinsville. Ward Burton won the 2002 Daytona 500, the first Winston Cup race of the season and the biggest race.
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