EAT, DRINK, AND BE JOLLY
Two years after the founding of Blanchard & Calhoun, the city of Augusta threw a party they hoped would rival Mardi Gras in New Orleans. And by all accounts, it did. For three days in October 1922, Augusta’s social calendars were wiped clean of bridge tournaments and garden club meetings and “everything was given up to Jollification Week.” The celebration, alternatively referred to as Jubilee Week, brought thousands of visitors to Augusta from hundreds of miles beyond our city limits to enjoy singers, dancers, actors, jugglers, trapeze artists, high divers, parades, and fireworks. The Boys Club displayed calves and corn. The Girls Club provided bread making and canning demonstrations. Street dances lasted until the sun came up. The mayor presented the chair of the Jollification Committee with the keys to the city. The committee, as its name would imply, was serious about fun-having and enlisted dozens of businessmen to help raise $10,000 in funds for the festival. Blanchard and Calhoun co-founder Francis Calhoun was charged with canvassing Augusta’s real estate and rental industry for donations. While eating, drinking, and being jolly were the featured activities of the festival, Jubilee Week was actually intended to highlight Augusta rising from the ashes. Just a few years earlier, much of downtown was lost to the Great Fire of 1916. By 1922, the city had bounced back and was able to point to millions of dollars in construction to prove it – a building boom that likely kept our founders, George Blanchard and Francis Calhoun, pretty busy. We’re not sure if they had the time to enjoy the amazing feats of the Diving Ringens or if they danced until sunrise with their lovely brides – but, we sure hope they did.