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Boro rec department launches 'water carnival' in 1950
Bulloch History
water ballet

Note: The following is first of a series of columns looking at places and events of interest in Bulloch County history.

Statesboro Recreation Department Superinten-dent Max Lockwood announced in the May 4, 1950 Statesboro Herald that there would be a special "water carnival" in early May in order to celebrate the opening of the Memorial Park Swimming Pool for the 1950 season. 

The festivities would be overseen by "Father Neptune" Eddie Hodges and his court, which included Hal Averitt, Jamie Daughtry and Farine Sturgis, and would be directed by Sue Hunnicutt. 

A "water ballet" would feature many local girls.

They were Betty Sue West, Betty Sherman, Betty Joe Woodward, Elizabeth Thomas, Sybil Griner, Virginia Lee Floyd, Farine Sturgis, Mary Louise Grimes, Melba Prosser, Margaret Ann Dekle, Patsy Odom, Ann Remington, Betty Womack and Peggy Whitehurst.

In addition, there would be diving exhibitions done by Foy Olliff, Jack Upchurch, Charles Sims, Bobby Steptoe, Al McDonough, Alan Womble, Patsy Odom, Betty Sherman and Virginia Lee Floyd. Also entertaining the crowd were to be "water clowns" Ainsworth Davis and Alan Womble. 

As if that wasn't enough, Jack Upchurch and Sue Hunnicutt would perform a series of double diving and swimming stunts. 

Finally, "minnows" Linda Harville, Marilyn Denmark, Nicky Roberts, Anna Bird Daniels, Mary Nelson Bowen and Dotty Donaldson would be on hand as well, to show what they learned. 

After the performers were done, the much anticipated "trout chase" would take place. During this event, a large trout (provided by local resident Phil Bean) would be released into the pool, and the first swimmer who caught the trout would win a season’s pass to the pool. 

After some great hilarity, and many failed attempts to corral the trout, local boy Foy Olliff bagged the trophy and won himself not only a season’s pass but dinner at the fine dining establishment of Ogeechee Lodge.

Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at

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