One of the town's most famous native sons is Clayton "Peg Leg" Bates. Bates, who lost his leg in a cotton gin accident at the age of 12 overcame his tragedy to become a famous dancer. His signature step was the "Imitation American Jet Plane," in which he would jump five feet in the air and land on his peg leg, with his good leg sticking out straight behind him. During his career, Bates performed more than 20 different times on the Ed Sullivan television show -- more than any other artist -- and performed before the king and queen of England. Fountain Inn has immortalized “Peg Leg” with a statue in the downtown plaza.
But Bates isn't the only artist with ties to Fountain Inn. Commercial artist Art Frahm, who brought life to the old gentleman on the Quaker Oats oatmeal box and the Coppertone Suntan Lotion girl, lived Fountain Inn more than 20 years. While in Fountain Inn, Frahm portrayed Southern architecture and lifestyles in his artwork.
In addition to Frahm, internationally known humorist and syndicated writer Robert Quillen contributed to the early cultural life of Fountain Inn by starting the newspaper, The Fountain Inn Tribune, in 1911. Readers found the news of the day and comic characters such as Aunt Het (who is recognized each year with the Aunt Het festival) and Willie Willis among the pages. With these rich facets of cultural history, it's easy to see why Fountain Inn today is known as, "The place where the past and present coexist in harmony."
Residents living in Fountain Inn can enjoy a number of activities at the community's Fountain Inn Activities Center including fitness activities, crafts, health screenings and other activities. With a gymnasium and fitness facility, the center provides a home for youth and adults to participate in physical fitness activities, including a youth basketball league and an adult coed volleyball league.
When it comes to recreational opportunities, the sky is the limit. In addition to the many national parks, lakes, rivers and camping in the Smoky Mountains, the area is a hotbed for golfers with numerous courses located within an easy drive. There are numerous lakes surrounding Fountain Inn for fishing and boating. Other nearby activities include collegiate spectator sports, concerts, theaters and the Greenville Braves baseball games.
The public school system in the city is excellent. And, when it comes to higher education, the area is home to a number of colleges and universities including Bob Jones University, Clemson University, Converse College, Furman University, Greenville Technical College, North Greenville College, Southern Wesleyan University, the University of South Carolina at Spartanburg and Wofford College.
Community events are an important part of the community. Each Christmas season residents come together for the Spirit of Christmas Past festival. Families can select from horse drawn carriage rides through candle-lit streets, participate in a home tour or enjoy the special music and entertainment throughout the festival.
In the Fall, the community comes together for the Aunt Het festival, named after former newspaper publisher Robert Quillen's cartoon character, "Aunt Het." The day- long festival features arts and crafts, live entertainment, colorful characters, amusement rides, a car show and a myriad of tasty food booths. Other events include the annual Chamber golf tournament at the Fox Run Country Club, the Twilight Golf Tournament at Carolina Springs Country Club were golfers play nine holes in the afternoon then enjoy refreshments, before continuing to play the final nine holes with a special, glow in the dark golf ball.
Each spring, horse enthusiasts and competitive riders gather at the Berry Woods Horse Farm for competitions and horse exhibitions. The event has more than 60 classes including western, walking, racking and English horse riding. It is a wonderful family event for both participants and observers.
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