Honoring the early traditions of our "NC back country settlers," the Apple Drop features a NYE countdown and the blessing of the city with the Cherryville Traditional Shooters. The event starts at 5pm on South Court Square and the Court House lawn.
The Blessing of the City and the Shooters will be at 6:30pm. And then the Apple Drops at 7pm during this family friendly event (that's midnight GMT or Greenwich Mean Time).
This event is free, but we ask for your donations of people & pet food to restock the shelter pantries at Christian Ministries and Lincoln County Animal Services. We have LOTS of NYE swag as a thank you for your contribution. If you can't bring non-perishable food items, we'll also accept cash at the event, or via our online fundraiser on Facebook.
There are fun photo booths for family photos and you can enjoy music & games on the Court Square. Vendors on site will have food, treats and drinks.
Join us for this celebration of Lincolnton & Lincoln County Heritage!
About the shooting tradition in Lincolnton/Lincoln County & the Cherryville Traditional Shooters:
Shooting in the New Year wasn't just a local tradition in Cherryville and surrounding areas. The practice actually began in Europe and German immigrants to America brought it with them, first to Pennsylvania and later to the South. The Philadelphia Mummers was a group of folks who walked house to house on New Year’s Eve singing songs and firing guns to “shoot in the New Year.” They even entertained George Washington while he was President when the US capital was in Philadelphia.
Shooting in the New Year was widespread in North Carolina during the colonial and antebellum eras, but by 2006 had died out completely except in portions on Lincoln and Gaston Counties. Today, the New Year's Shooters have received national publicity including "CBS Morning News" dating back to well over three decades ago. There is local documentation of the shooters in this area back to 1770 and a copy of a chant dating back to the 1800’s is on display at the Cherryville Historical Museum. Many of the names of these original settlers are also the names of the current shooters. Some sources say this year is the 211th of shooting in the New Year. There are actually two groups of New Year's Shooters: one of them is the Cherryville Traditional New Year's Shooters, the other is the Cherryville New Year's Shooters, Inc. Both groups trace their beginnings to a single group that carried on the local tradition dating back at least to the early 1800s.
The City of Lincolnton is honored to have the Cherryville Traditional New Year's Shooters join us for the Apple Drop and bless the city with the Shooter's Chant.
The shooting was, according to legend, supposed to frighten away evil spirits and bless the land for the coming year. It may also have served to let neighbors know that communities were armed and ready to defend their properties. As important--if not more so--than the warding off of evil spirits or the frightening of potential enemies was the camaraderie that the event developed at a time when many North Carolina back-county “neighbors” lived many miles apart.
The shooter tradition centers around the "Chant". The origin of the "Chant" is unknown, but part of the current version can be found in a circa 1777 hymn-prayer by British writer John Newton called "Time by moments steals away". The version that is cried today is of older English style grammar. It is part sermon, song, poem, and speech with religious and spiritual under tones in its three minute version.
Today, the chant is performed by various members of the group which seeks to carry on the tradition that has become synonymous with the New Year in our area of the NC Piedmont.
Chant of the New Year’s Shooters
Good morning (evening) to you, sir. We wish you a happy New Year, Great health, long life, which God may bestow So long as you stay here below. May he bestow the house you're in, Where you go out and you go in. Time by moments steals away, First the hour and then the day. Small the lost days may appear, But they soon mount up to a year. Thus, another year is gone, And now it is no more of our own, but if it brings our promises good As the year before the flood, but let none of us forget It has left us much in debt, a favor from the Lord received Since which our spirits hath been grieved. Marked by the unerring hand, Thus in His book our record stands. Who can tell the vast amounts Placed to each our accounts? But while you owe the debt is large, You may plead a full discharge. But poor and selfish sinners say, What can you to justice pay? Trembling last for life is past And into prison you may be cast. Happy is the believing soul, Christ for you has paid the whole. We have this New Year's morning* Called you by your name, and disturbed you from your rest, But we hope no harm by the same. As we ask, come tell us your desire, And if it be your desire, our guns and pistols they shall fire. Since we hear of no defiance, you shall hear the art of science. When we pull trigger and powder burns, you shall hear the roaring of our guns; Oh, daughters of righteousness, we will rise and warm our eyes And bless our hearts, for the old year's gone and the New Year's come And for good luck, we'll fire our guns!