South of the Border (attraction)


South of the Border (attraction)

__NOTOC__South of the Border is a rest stop and roadside attraction on Interstate 95 and US 301-501 near Dillon, South Carolina, so named because it is just "south of the border" – the border between the U.S. states of South Carolina and North Carolina. The rest area features not only restaurants, gas stations and a motel, but also a small amusement park, shopping (including adult entertainment at the "Dirty Old Man Shop"), and, famously, fireworks. Its mascot is Pedro, an extravagantly stereotypical Mexican "bandido". It is advertised by hundreds of billboards along surrounding highways that start 175 miles away. Well-known landmarks in the area, the irreverent signs feature Pedro, wearing a sombrero and poncho, counting down the number of miles to South of the Border.

South of the Border was developed by Al Schafer (1914-2001), who founded a beer stand at the location in 1950 and steadily expanded it with Mexican trinkets and numerous kitsch items. He had a great deal of success because of his location, which was immediately across the border from a dry North Carolina county, and grew his small business into what was, by local standards, an economic empire. South of the Border grew to over a square mile, required its own infrastructure, and had its own fire and police departments. Schafer became reclusive, building a large compound of interconnected houses outside the Dillon city limits. At South of the Border, he kept secret apartments hidden in the backs of restaurants and shops.

The entire motif of South of the Border can be described as intentionally camp.

The billboards

Among the billboards advertising South of the Border along Interstate 95 are the following:

Gallery of South of the Border billboards


See also

* Tourist trap
* Wall Drug - a similar attraction off Interstate 90 in South Dakota

External links

* [http://www.pedroland.com/ Pedro Land - Official South of the Border web site]
* [http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/SCDILsob.html Article in Roadside America]
* [http://www.roadtripamerica.com/places/southof.htm Article in RoadTrip America]
* [http://www.larryweaver.com/funnysongs/lyrics/southoftheborder.asp Funny Tribute Song and Music Video]


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