A feast for Democrats at 'Barbecue at Belair'


November 30, 2008

On Nov. 19, 1884, a large crowd of Democrats gathered for the "Barbecue at Belair," celebrating the presidential election of Grover Cleveland. The barbecue was threatened by persistent rains, but 400 to 500 people came to the fairgrounds. Everyone was well fed, and "many of them after polishing the bones carried them home as souvenirs of the first democratic barbecue. ... After the feasting was over the crowd was called to order in the main exhibition hall and addressed by Misters Thomas C. Weeks, Herman Stump and J.T.C. Hopkins." A torchlight procession was planned for that day, but because of the rain, it was not held until Nov. 24. "Upwards of a thousand men were in line, on horseback, on foot, in wagons and in carriages, with torches, transparencies, flags and bands of music." Bel Air was handsomely decorated. The night culminated with fireworks and several speeches at the courthouse.

From the Baltimore Sun Historical Archive: "The Barbecue at Belair." Nov. 20, 1884; "Belair's Big Demonstration." Nov. 25, 1884. Compiled by the staff of the Harford County Public Library

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