LARSON: Winder gets the drop on New Year's Eve

Susan Larson

Susan Larson

This New Year's Eve, Winder will be celebrating the newest old tradition in Barrow County with its first annual Jug Drop. At the stroke of midnight, a jug will drop from the Hanging Tower of the first Barrow County Jail, which now is the Barrow County Museum. But before the jug can be dropped, it has to be put in place. And by that I mean not only physically, but historically.

This new celebration is called a Jug Drop to commemorate Winder's old name. Over a century ago the city was known as Jug Tavern. How it wound up being Winder, I really don't know, but it doesn't matter because the focus here is on the jug thing. The town was called Jug Tavern because the area was well known for it's abundance of potters. I don't know where the tavern part came into all of this, because the building itself and the adjoining old courthouse have always been owned by the county. So anything that ever did or ever will happen there would be alcohol-free.

Of course the absence of alcohol doesn't mean everything will be stiff and stodgy. "A Miss Jug contest will feature men dressed as women. The winner will be awarded a gold jug and will have the honor of dropping the jug at midnight," Beth Barton, a Barrow County Historical Society Trustee said. "Some prominent citizens from our area have already signed up to compete."

There will be live music at the Jug Jig Street Dance from 9 p.m. until midnight. In keeping with the jug and definitely not the tavern theme, BCHS will be selling Nodoroc Mud (hot chocolate named after Winder's historic volcanic pit), Wog Nog (red apple cider named after Winder's legendary monster, The Wog), Jail House Gin (bottled ginger ale) and Moon Shine (bottled water). Nonprofit food booths will include local law enforcement officers selling boiled peanuts just to make their presence known. You know, like keeping an eye on anyone who might think the event is more about commemorating the tavern than the jug.

In addition to offering folks an opportunity to have some good clean fun, the BCHS hopes the Jug Drop will acquaint them with the Barrow County Museum.

"We have been open for 15 years and still have people in the county and other parts of Georgia that are not aware of this great community asset," Barton said. Admission is free and the building is full of artifacts and photos donated by Barrow County residents. Each month features a new display, which for December is a huge whiskey still on loan from the North Georgia Mountain Fair. This ties in perfectly with the Jug Drop since illegal whiskey running was a well known crime in the area during prohibition."

For more information, you can tap into Facebook for the ongoing Jug Drop saga, which happens to be laced with a little dry humor.

Susan Larson is a Lilburn resident. E-mail her at susanlarson4@yahoo.com.