07/05/07 — Goldsboro, Mount Olive celebrate 4th

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Goldsboro, Mount Olive celebrate 4th

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on July 5, 2007 1:45 PM

DeMarcus Little cannot tell you about the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The 6-year-old has no idea what freedom means.

But he had no problem coming up with an answer when asked about his favorite part of the Goldsboro Jaycees-sponsored July 4 celebration.

"I liked the hot dogs," he said. "And the cookies."

More than 100 red-, white- and blue-clad Wayne County residents strolled John and Walnut streets Wednesday for the inaugural Goldsboro Jaycees July 4th Parade and Festival.

The event, which included live music, street vendors and plenty of food, was a way to bring people together downtown, organizers said.

Debbie Pittman has been a member of the Jaycees for more than a decade and has seen dozens of events planned and executed.

But there was something special about trying something new -- even if the streets were not necessarily flooded with people this time around.

"Actually, we have been shocked with the amount of people who came out today," she said. "This being our first year, we really didn't know how it would be."

Heather Shaw had "so much fun."

The celebration gave the 9-year-old a chance to meet a clown, eat good food and play with other children her age, she said.

"It's always fun to play," Heather said.

But for her, the day was just beginning.

"I can't wait to see the fireworks," she said. "They are really cool."

Ms. Pittman said she is glad the Jaycees were able to provide a few hours of fun before the holiday gave way to family cookouts and bursts of light in the sky.

And she is proud of the fact that the organization pulled off the event with the help of city officials and downtown supporters.

After all, promoting Golds-boro was what the event was all about, she said.

"The nice thing has been the support of the city. Anytime we needed something, nobody ever said 'No,'" Ms. Pittman said. "We chose this area because we want to help revitalize downtown, to bring people here who might not have ever been here. I think it worked out for everybody."

It did for DeMarcus.

"Hey Mama, can we come back later?" he asked as members of his family started toward their car.

"Next time, baby," she replied. "We can come back next time."

Down the road, more than 1,500 people came out to watch Mount Olive's annual Fourth of July parade at Westbrook Park.

There were pole-climbing and sack races for the children, and music for the adults provided by a local gospel group, The Harmony Boys.

The event, which kicked off at 4:30 p.m., culminated at 6 p.m. with a fireworks display at the Mount Olive airport.