Young, old share faith at camp meeting
The Tucker’s Grove Camp Meeting kicked off on Friday evening with the Blessing of the Grounds.
One by one, the tents that dot the grounds began to light up with residents. According to Louis McClain, chairman of the camp meeting, over 300 people were on hand for Friday and Saturday singing.
Though the campground seemed sparsely populated in the early morning hours on Sunday, as several campers went to worship at their home churches, the afternoon became bustling as Youth Night kicked off at 6:30 p.m. with liturgical dancing, singing, preaching, bible study, worship and fellowship.
“It’s been good so far,” McClain said.
The draw of the Tucker’s Grove camp meeting extends to old-time attendees as well as a new crop of people, who are anxious to participate in the revival spirit that happens, not just under the large arbor at the center of the campgrounds, but on every patch of grass and every gravel pathway.
Doretha Perry, her husband and sister-in-law made their way to the campground on Highway 73 in Iron Station from Charlotte, bringing their P&P concession stand with them. The first-time campers can be seen at the entrance off of Highway 73, selling snow cones and boneless fish sandwiches.
“This is my first year,” Perry said. “I’ve heard some great things about this place, some of the history. It’s just unbelievable. I just wanted to be a part of it. Yesterday was great. They have lots of singing. It was just great.”
According to Perry, the Saturday night singing was standing-room-only.
Campers like Emma Sloan have been coming to Tucker’s Grove for 65 years, but the joy that the first-timers feel is still alive and well in the spry 95-year-old from Huntersville. Sloan and her daughters, ages 74 and 70, sell snow cones with the convenience of shaved ice in a cooler, but she remembers full well the days when she and her husband had to scrape ice off of the block.
“Snow balls cost a nickel then,” Sloan said.
She recalled the days when the campground was larger and times when her husband had a novelty picture machine in 1952, selling black and white pictures for 25 cents apiece. Sloan said that whereas some things changed over the years, there is a familiarity that comes with setting up a home away from home in a tent.
“There were plenty of machines around here,” Sloan said. “We don’t have as many stands as they used to but it’s still like it was.”
Sloan is one of the oldest people to attend the camp meeting, but she and her daughters hope that a new generation will come to love the annual revival as much as they do.
The Tucker’s Grove camp meeting continues through the week and will end on Aug. 24.