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Brush Arbor Singing to be held Thursday in Brundidge

Each year in October, the Peanut Butter Festival kicks off with an old-time Brush Arbor  Singing that features all the favorite “church songs” that folks know and sing by heart.

This year’s Brush Arbor Singing is breaking with tradition in that it will be on Thursday night, October 26, rather than Wednesday night.

“In the South, Wednesday night is church night and, although attendance has been good at the Brush Arbor Singings, some local churches have on-going Bible studies on Wednesday nights,” said Chris Foster, president of the sponsoring Brundidge Business Association. “And churches often have fall festivals and other programs on the Wednesday before Halloween. So, we decided to move the Brush Arbor Singing to Thursday night at 6 o’clock at the Knox Ryals Pavilion on the grounds of Brundidge City Hall.”

Foster said the Brush Arbor Singing is non-denominational and everyone that enjoys singing those old favorite hymns is invited.

“The Peanut Butter Festival is a harvest and heritage celebration and is centered around the times when the Johnston and Louis-Anne peanut butter mills in Brundidge were churning out several million jars of peanut butter for commercial use each year,” Foster said. “Around that time, the 1930s and 1940s, Brush Arbor Singings were popular community events.”

A brush arbor might be described as a mini-version of today’s pole barn, but with brush as a roof.

“The brush was protection from the rain and the sun if singings got underway in the late afternoon,” Foster said. “People from all around the area would show up to sing their favorite hymns and enjoy the fellowship of friends and neighbors. Often the service would turn into a revival.”

If and when the preaching started, the stories are that young people would slip out of the service and into the night and little children would fall asleep on quilt pallets on the ground.

“Of course, we’re only going to sing and we’ll sing songs that are familiar so there’s no need for songbooks,” Foster said. “Bleachers will be set up and those who prefer lawn chairs are welcome to bring them.

“The Brush Arbor Singing is a community event and we like to kick off the Peanut Butter Festival in the way that we imagine an event like that would have gotten underway in the heydays of the peanut butter mills.”