06/29/08 — Pikeville holds Independence Day Festival

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Pikeville holds Independence Day Festival

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 29, 2008 2:01 AM

PIKEVILLE -- Allen Best and his little cousin, Laci Best of Goldsboro, had different reactions during Saturday's Independence Day Festival as the Sudan Temple Min-Rigs roared around a parking lot at the town park.

"I think they are real cool, and they are fast," Allen said. "I'd would like to have one."

Laci's response was to place her hands over her ears.

Allen said he was having a good time watching the small trucks and playing on the large inflatable play areas.

With temperatures closing in on 90 by the 10 a.m. start, spectators sought the small comfort afforded by shade and cool drinks.

It is the 11th year that the town has held the celebration, and the fourth year that it has been hosted by the Pikeville Lions Club.

Mayor and Lions Club member Herb Sieger thanked the community for its support of the festivities.

"We are here this morning to honor those who have sacrificed so much so that we might have occasion to celebrate this day," he said. "I am proud to be here with you this morning as a veteran, as member of the Pikeville Lions Club and as your mayor.

"Let the good times roll and have a good day."

Sieger said the town holds its celebration on the Saturday before the Fourth of July because so many people are out of town on the Fourth.

"It is just a way to get out and celebrate and be thankful for what we have," he said.

He said the club hosts the annual celebration as part of its commitment to community service.

During the opening ceremonies, Cam Newcomb was crowned Little Mr. Independence and Gracie Vera Little Miss Independence. Cam is the son of Clint and Amanda Newcomb of Pikeville. Gracie is the daughter of Raul and Melissa Vera of Pikeville.

Glen and Catherine Smith, who have been married for 62 years, were honored as Mr. and Mrs. Pikeville.

The Wayne County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard presented the colors, and Madeline Edwards performed the national anthem.

Candidates for local elected and state offices used the opportunity to get in a little stumping.

In his invocation, the Rev. William Creech said that on this Fourth of July, "we find our nation fighting for freedom once again."

He said that many in the military are in foreign lands and asked for the Lord's protection over them and their families.

"Help us enjoy the freedoms in which we live and never let us forget that our freedom has always come with a high price," he said.

The day featured activities for children, entertainment and vendors offering food and arts and crafts. A fireworks display closed out the festivities.

A horseshoe tournament that was being played in the shade attracted a large gathering.

Judy Finch of Wilson was sitting under the shade of a small tree carving walking sticks for sale at her booth as people milled around at the park. She said it was the first time she had participated in the event that she had learned about on the Internet.

"It seems a little slow," she said. "But with gas prices like they are people might not be getting out like they used to."

She said the event offered plenty of activities and was set up in such a way as to "bring in the people."

Shriner George Raecher said it is the fourth year the Mini-Rigs have participated.

"We love this, we love it," he said. "The gas prices are hurting our pocketbooks a little bit though -- all of these trucks are owned by individuals and expenses come out of our pockets."

Elizabeth Fleming and her son, Landon Fleming, where among those checking out the crafts being offered by vendors.

"I have been at every one (of the celebrations)," she said.

Mrs. Fleming was working at the Pleasant Grove Free Will Baptist Church booth selling hot dogs, chips, drinks and other items.

"There seem to be more food vendors than normal, but we usually do pretty good," she said.

She said the activity and number of spectators normally picks up around noon.

"We have a good time," she said. "It is a good time to get together and see people you have not seen in a while and get out and have a good time.