Stephen F. Austin State University

Bossier Fourth of July Celebration at Benton (July 2014)

By Ann Middleton

An article in the June 25, 1934 issue of The Plain Dealing Progress invited every Bossier Parish resident to participate in the upcoming Fourth of July celebration in Benton. The self-proclaimed "Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration" promised a subscription barbecue, fat man's race, greased pig contest, three-legged race and a baseball game to commemorate the 158th anniversary of American freedom.

Tickets for the event were on sale in Plain Dealing at Walker Brothers, Caldwell Motor Company and BK Drug Company. A 50 cent ticket would entitle you to the barbecue, the baseball game and all other entertainments as well as a free chance on a set of beautiful lawn furniture to be awarded to the holder of a lucky number. Tickets would not be on sale after July 1st and barbecue would be prepared for only those having bought tickets before that date.

The big attraction of the day would, of course, be the baseball game. "On this occasion the Plain Dealing Lions will cross bats with the popular Benton nine, with all the best players available on both teams. Now, folks, both Plain Dealing and Benton this season have the best ball clubs in the history of Bossier Parish, and that game is going to be worthwhile. We advise you to keep your money in your pockets at that game, because betting either way would be as dangerous as pulling your grandpapa's whiskers."

The culmination of the Bossier Fourth of July celebration was to be a big public dance at the Bell Hotel in Plain Dealing. The dance was to be under the auspice of and sponsored by the Plain Dealing Lions Club. A fine Negro orchestra had been secured for the occasion. A committee from the Lions Club would be on hand to see that perfect order was kept and that everyone had an enjoyable time.

The following week's issue of The Plain Dealing Progress reported that the celebration in Benton and Plain Dealing was quietly observed with no serious incidents being attributed to the Fourth of July events. One accident occurred that was unrelated to the festivities. Two cars collided on the Minden Road, killing two women from Bastrop, Louisiana and injuring five others. A Longview, Texas man was charged with drunken driving in connection with the accident.

The barbecue and double header baseball game in North Bossier were well attended, with Plain Dealing and Benton each winning a game. Plain Dealing won the first game scoring 8 runs to Benton's 7. Benton outscored Plain Dealing, 6 to 5 in the second game. The Lions Club public dance in Plain Dealing in the evening netted $36.00 for the organization to use toward the fund to send delegates to Lions International Convention.

As our 2012 Fourth of July approaches, remember when the entire parish celebrated the day in North Bossier in 1934.

And, to learn about other special days in Bossier Parish, visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.