(Featured photo is from the 2019 Chitlin’ Strut Parade, courtesy the Chitlin’ Strut website)
With a population of 332, according to the U.S. Census, Salley, S.C. may be tiny but has been dubbed with a big title as the unofficial “Chitlin’ Capital of the World.”
The residents of the hamlet welcome tens of thousands of guests to its annual Chitlin’ Strut, held the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Musical entertainment, craft vendors, a hog calling contest, a parade, a “strut your stuff” dance competition and tons of chitlins are part of the event that will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday in Salley, S.C., which is about 55 miles east of Augusta. Festivities wrap up around 6 p.m.
Chitlins or chitterlings are pork intestines which are served fried or boiled and considered by some to be a delicacy.
Started in 1966 to purchase Christmas decorations for the town of Salley, the event had 1,000 people attend the first year, and the festival has drawn in upwards of 40,000 guests and served more than 8,000 pounds of chitlins, according to a 2015 Resolution by the South Carolina General Assembly in recognizing Nov. 28, 2015, as Chitlin’ Strut Day in South Carolina.
According to an article submitted by the late Sen Strom Thurmond at the Library of Congress website, the mayor and two council members enlisted the help of a country radio station disc jockey with the idea.
DJ Ben “Dekle said he had always dreamed of a ‘Chitlin’ Strut,’ but never had found anyone with the ‘guts’ to host one. (Mayor Jack) Able rose to the challenge,” the article said.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Miss Chitlin’ Strut pageant. The first winner was Trena Williams, according to the Chitlin’ Strut website.
The event has garnered national and international attention including being featured in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times in the 1980s. The BBC interviewed then-Salley Mayor Bob Salley in 2008, according to media reports at the time.
The Miss Chitlin’ Strut Pageant was featured on TLC’s series, Toddlers and Tiaras.
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