The 87-year-old Cumming resident has attended Holbrook Camp Meeting since 1957, and her family built their No. 53 cabin — known in the community as a tent — in 1958.
“Since then, they’ve added lots of cabins, updated some and there are a lot more conveniences these days,” Talant said.
Now in its 174th year, the meeting hosts 80 tents and began last Friday with an evening prayer service. Attendees enjoy 10 days of no air conditioning or television and spend much of their time in fellowship with family and friends and prayer during the several daily worship services.
But Talant said accommodations have come a long way at Holbrook Campground.
“My first year, we just had a little wire light that went around the grounds,” Talant said.
The meeting will continue through July 22 with daily services at 11 a.m. and 3 and 8 p.m. Children’s services, which include crafts, Bible lessons and singing are Monday through Thursday at 9 a.m. This Sunday, there will be an 11 a.m. service and a 3 p.m. service to close out camp meeting.
The annual event started in 1838 when Jessie C. Holbrook received 40 acres for shoeing a horse. Holbrook sold the land for $20 to area Methodists for the purpose of having camp meetings.
Campers continue to stay in the tents that encircle a large, grassy area where many children can be seen playing and riding bikes throughout most of the day. The central arbor, which is where worship service is conducted, was built in 1890.
Talant, whose son, Rex Talant, also attends each year, said her favorite part of camp meeting is all of the worship services.
“It’s so important because we see souls saved, we see their faith renewed and we feel the whole spirit of the Lord touching our souls,” Talant said. “When you come expecting a blessing, you will receive a blessing, because this is and has been God’s holy ground.”
Generations of Cherokee County families attend every year, including the Lathems, whose seventh generation of children now attend the annual meeting.
Georgette Robertson, a Lathem before marriage, spent Wednesday morning with her 13-year-old daughter, Taylor, leading about 20 children in song under the arbor. The children sang various gospel favorites, including “I’ve Got the Joy in My Heart” and “Do Lord.”
A former special education teacher at Free Home Elementary School, Roberston said she also enjoyed creating crafts for the kids to make each day and leading them in morning Bible stories and devotionals.
“Some mornings, you wake up tired and don’t know if you can make it, but I get to greet these kids and their smiling faces and it’s totally worth it,” Robertson said. “It’s just a spirit-filled place and it’s a time for fellowship, no matter how old you are.”
Her daughter Taylor, a Creekland Middle School student, said she liked playing with her cousins and friends in nightly water balloon fights.
“If I wasn’t here, I’d probably just be home sitting on the couch,” she said. “Half of the campground is full of my cousins. We have a great time.”
This year’s guest ministers for Holbrook Camp Meeting are the Rev. Eddie Herring of Prospect United Methodist Church in Lawrenceville and the Rev. Mike Orr of First Baptist Church in Chipley, Fla.
For more information, visit www.holbrookcampmeeting.com.