Freedom Fest ’24 – Thomaston Beards a Hit!


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The Freedom Fest ’24 sizzle started long before the fireworks!  Some folks arrived early enough to saunter across the street from convenient parking spots at the Silvertown Baptist Church. We squeezed into a cozy nook behind the old Boy Scout Hall and embarked on our trek towards the welcoming music drifting from ‘way over yonder’ past the ponds. 360News has thrown its hat in the ring for the valet parking concession at the 8th annual Freedom Fest, which there will be! And a 9th, a 10th, and so on.

The rollicking family atmosphere at the 7th Annual Freedom Fest was contagious: kids sprawled on blankets smeared with sunblock, mama cooling daddy with free festival hand fans, and daddy juggling refreshments for mama and the kids on the walk back from the food truck to their staked-out spot on ‘the green’ in front of the festival stage, or under the shade nearby to keep an eye on the kids staying wet and cool in Greatest Generation Park’s Interactive Water Fountain.

How hot was it on Independence Day? Nobody knows, the digital numbers on the Chinese thermometer melted like a “wax figure in a horror flick,” but judging by the number of wilted collars and the glistening foreheads in the packed crowd, the temp was greater than a Georgia cotton field at noon in the dead heat of summer.

We noticed daddies giving their whiskers one last finger comb for the cameras. To ensure all festival-features received their due, 360News focused on an often-overlooked reality at large community gatherings: bearded faces representing virility and southern wisdom. Beards were as ubiquitous at Freedom Fest 24 as fireworks in the night sky. And to prove it, we captured the look for the world to see. photographed a collage of unique beard styles, from the traditional Lumberjack Legend to the stylish Van Dyke, the just-woke Stubble look, the Rebel, and the Explorer.

Scroll down to see the fabulous Freedom Fest ’24 Beards!

The City of Thomaston and its bearded leader, a fellow named Taylor Smith, introduced a new beard style we’ll call the “FestivaMaestro!”.

Community events of this size have more moving parts than a symphony orchestra or the intricate movements of fiddlers around a fire pit on the Flint during cool fall evenings. And the young event-maestro pulled it off in a confident and relaxed fashion.

Congratulations to Taylor and his great staff at the City of Thomaston for making it all happen. And to the event sponsors for their generosity in their resolute support of our community:

Tidal Wave Auto Spa: If you eat, you’ve heard of McDonalds. If you drive a sparkling clean car, you’ve heard of Tidal Wave – You’re seeing it happen – a new visual becoming as ubiquitous across this great land as the Golden Arches – Tidal Wave Auto Spa.
Upson County: 360News is proud to call it home.
Thomaston-Upson Chamber of Commerce: A great uniter.
Brightmark: Investing $1 billion in our budding economy.
GFL: Green Today, Green for Life.
McGriff Insurance Services: A name we trust.
United Bank: Free checking that’s actually free.
Duke’s Wine & Spirits: Duke Won!!
Highline: Fast internet for rural areas.
Upson Beacon: Shining light & keeping watch on our community.

My hometown made me proud again to be a ‘returned’ native. Thanks for an exciting July 4th at Greatest Generation Park! And thanks to our bearded brothers for sharing their bearded culture with the world on

See if you agree with Old Doc’s traditional, homespun philosophy: “A woman marrying a man with a beard is a sign of her having a fine appreciation for life’s rugged adventure and a taste for the wild and wooly mysteries that lie beyond the horizon.”

Who are these people in beards? I know these people by their antecedents; I grew up with many of their grandparents…on Delray Road, Jeff Davis Road, R Street.  I went to school with many of their relatives at Lee Grammar, Atwater, Community Center. We shared the same teachers, preachers, coaches.  We played ball together at Matthews Field, Silvertown Ball Park, were in the same Boy Scout Troop, fished in the same holes, swam together at Perks Pool. I hung at with their grandmothers at the original Piggy Park, probably unloaded from the trunks of some of their cars at the old Drive in. I dedicated songs to their young-lover ancestors when I was a young boy deejay at WQXI in Atlanta. You know people from whence they came. Happy 4th everybody!

Excelsior, friends. This is old Doc Granger hand-in-hand with good lookin, wise, and sharp-witted Aussie Ellie.

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  • Hello and Greetings!
    My husband and I were attendees at the Freedom Fest and his photo was taken.
    We were wishing to to possibly view the photo?
    The slideshow we see only shows one gentleman with the black and white shirt sleeved cotton button up, black fedora and dark tan shorts.
    If you could either possibly send it to my email if it is not chosen to be shown.
    We wish for a copy of that could at all be possible for our own family collection, if at all possible?
    Thank You……God Bless

    • Hey, Elizabeth. Thanks for reaching out. Sorting through lots of photos today; we’ll be posting all of the beard photos in a little while. If you still don’t see it, get back to me and I’ll see that you get a copy. I enjoyed meeting you and your husband and appreciate him sharing his great beard with the world; hope you two had a great time yesterday! Doc

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