The Beech celebration was started in 1884 by Alfred Marion Penland (1833-1898.) He killed a beef and invited the community, who all thought Alfred quite generous since they mostly had pork and poultry on their plates. The Beech 4th of July parade is the longest consecutive parade in the county and probably in the state–this year being the 133 year.

Only in Beech can you cheer on and watch or walk/march/ride in the oldest consecutive Independence Day Parade in North Carolina.

Grand Marshall Michael Gogdill with his 91-year-old mother “Polly.”


The Reems Creek Fire Department showed up in full force.

Only in Beech do you gather in the old schoolhouse after the parade to say the pledge, hear an inspirational talk from a now-famous local boy, Michael Cogdill, and sing My Country Tis Of Thee in lusty harmony.

Only in Beech do they walk the mountainside to pick a bouquet of wild flowers to present to a lucky woman. “Uncle Dave” Penland started that tradition.

This year’s bouquet went to Beech resident Mary McLean, a retiree with over 40 years working for the Buncombe County Library.

One enterprising young Beech resident thought the 4th a good place to find a home for a couple of extra roosters. Only in Beech!

Oh, and there’s dinner on the grounds and field games later, if you’re up for it.

Beech resident, farmer and former educator Bob Nesbitt (sitting on tractor) helped out with traffic control. Bob is the heart and soul of Beech.

And as Bob likes to say, “Only in Beech can you say ‘You going to the Fourth?’ and know everybody knows what you mean.


Post by Zoe Rhine librarian.

Photographs taken by Brenda Murphree.

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