History: In the fall of 1966, former Salley Mayor Jack Able examined the Towns existing Christmas decorations and found them in disrepair. He knew the Town needed to purchase new decorations before the Christmas season began. Unfortunately, the Town did not have the financial resources to purchase new decorations. Mayor Jack Able decided that some sort of local fundraiser would be the best way to raise the necessary money for the decorations. But what kind of fundraiser would the Town hold? Mayor Jack Able, Councilman Maxie Adams and Councilman P. G. Sharpe decided to visit a local radio personality to see if he could provide a few ideas. The threesome traveled to the small community of Cayce, South Carolina, to discuss the matter with Friendly Ben Dekle of Radio Station WCAY. Mr. Dekle told the group that he had always dreamed of a chitlin strut, but had never found anyone with the guts to host one. Mayor Jack Able and the others took Mr. Dekles idea and ran with it. The Mayor and Councilmen returned to Salley and made plans for Salleys first Chitlin Strut. The first Salley Chitlin Strut was scheduled for the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 26, 1966. The festival featured over a dozen country music acts with names such as Greasy Medlin, Dixie Four, Snuffy Jenkins and the Strange Sisters. Of course, Friendly Ben from WCAY Radio was also in attendance, serving as the Master of Ceremonies for the country music show. The first Chitlin Strut was attended by more than a thousand people. People came from many parts of South Carolina and surrounding states. The attendees consumed more than 600 pounds of chitlins, along with barbeque pork, chicken and other food items. The Town raised enough money during the festival to purchase new decorations in time for Christmas. The Chitlin Strut proved such a success, the Mayor and Town Council decided to make the festival an annual event, to be held each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. During its second year, the second Chitlin Strut drew more than 2,500 people. Attendance grew steadily as the Chitlin Strut became more widely known. Today, the Chitlin Strut draws tens of thousands each year. Some estimate the attendance has been as high as 50,000. The first Chitlin Strut served as the model for each successive event. The combination of country music and chitlins proved very popular with festival attendees. Even so, different types of food and entertainment were added over the years to improve the festival. The Town incorporated a Christmas Parade into the festival in the early 1970s. This has grown to be one of the most popular events during the festivals. We have had a beauty pageant held on the Friday night before the festival. This event has drawn approximately two to three hundred persons. The festival plays host to approximately 65 arts and crafts vendors.People come from near and far to browse through the offerings of handmade furniture and other wares. Many different types of food are now offered during the festival. Nearly fifty food vendors were present at the 1999 festival. Even with the wide selection of food, chitlins are still at the top of the list for most festival attendees. Evidence supporting that assertion is easy to find. The fit Chitlin Strut saw approximately 600 pounds of chitlins consumed.That figure increased to approximately 10,000 pounds during the 2004 festival. It is estimated that approximately 180,000 pounds of chitlins have been consumed in the festivals 42-year history. There is no doubt that the Chitlin Strut is a vital part of the Salley community.The Chitlin Strut has been shaped by the character and customs of the people.However, the festival has also shaped the community in many positive ways. The Town hopes that the Chitlin Strut continues to play an active role in this small community for years to come. It will be up to the next generation to make that hope a reality.