My grandfather had an almost reverential love of the Ford Model T. He had framed pictures of them on his wall, he talked glowingly about them, about how they were made for the American everyman. He admired Henry Ford as a businessman and philanthropist.
I never really understood it until I owned my first Volkswagen. It was a car with a history and a place in history.
The Bamberg County
town of Olar celebrates its historic connection to the Ford Motor Co. this weekend (Oct. 18-19) with the Model T’s to Olar festival
All the usual festival items will be there, food vendors, parade, crafters and music, plus a Model T and Model A car show along with an antique tractor show.
The event kicks off Friday with demonstrations of archery and bow hunting at 10 a.m. and a street dance Friday night starting at 7 p.m. There also will be carnival rides for the kids.
Saturday starts with a 5K walk/run at 8 a.m. then the main event, a parade down Highway 64 starting at 11 a.m. Later Saturday, the Orangeburg Line Dancers break out and the cornhole tournament begins. There is a second street dance on Saturday night with music from Irritating Julie, a favorite of mine.
Now about that Olar-Ford conection.
In the early 20th century, Olar businessman C.F. Rizer decided to add cars to the merchandise he sold at his farm supply/general store.
In just seven years, he became one of the largest sellers of Ford cars in the state. He even invested in the company and was rewarded with exclusive rights to sell Fords in Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton and Allendale counties. Rizer sent his sales force to the customers in those counties and sold as many as 10 cars a day.
Although Mr. Rizer passed away in 1950 just as the American love affair with the automobile was getting started, his connection to Ford and the Model T still lives in the tiny S.C. town of Olar.