06/27/10 — Pikeville celebrates an early Fourth of July in the park

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Pikeville celebrates an early Fourth of July in the park

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 27, 2010 1:50 AM

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Troy Herring

Melanie Seymour, right, paints a cat on the cheek of Kayla Person during the Independence Day Festival at the park in Pikeville Saturday. The celebration lasted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and featured live music, clowns, face painting and games for the public.

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Troy Herring

Dalton Barfield tosses a beanbag during a game of "Cornhole" during the Independence Day Festival at the park in Pikeville Saturday. The celebration wasn't hampered by the hot and muggy weather.

PIKEVILLE -- The two massive fans in the cooking area behind the Blended Fellowship Church booth were providing little relief from the hot and muggy Saturday morning air, forcing church member Jack Sasser to find an inventive way to cool off.

"We take a nice-sized rag like this, fill it up with ice-cold water that is running out the bottom of our drink cooler then just lay it on my fat head," he said.

Sasser was helping cook homemade potato chips during the 13th annual Independence Day Festival sponsored by the local Lions Club held at the town park. The town of Pikeville assists the club in putting on the celebration.

"We have homemade potato chips," Sasser said. "We have hot dogs. We serve snow cones and cotton candy. All proceeds go to our church. This is our second year out here. We have a great crowd helping us. In addition to the food we run games for the kids, basketball game, ring-toss game, two or three other games and we just have a fun day out here with the community.'

Sasser said it was church pastor Doug Seymour's idea to take part in the celebration.

"We were established July 9, 2000," Seymour said. "We always do an anniversary event, kind of combined with an Independence Day celebration. Then we found out about what Pikeville is doing here. We decided we would just come and be a part of this one.

"I think it is great. Everybody has a good time. We get to know one another better, get to know people in the community better. It lets people know what our ministry is about as well."

The celebration got under way at 10 a.m. and continued until 4 p.m. with food, games and entertainment. A fireworks show capped off the celebration at 9:30 p.m.

Mayor Johnny Weaver gave the welcome and thanked the Lions Club for sponsoring the celebration and town employees for helping set up the event.

"I remember the day I got my driver's license, I guess where I am leading to is freedom," Weaver said. "For the first chance in my life I felt like if I wanted to go forward, reverse, turn right or turn left I could do it without somebody else telling me. That was a feeling of freedom that I remember at 16 years old. As time goes on you get older. I noticed that we would be going on a trip and I would ask my wife to drive because that thrill of being able to be free and driving a car kind of vanished.

"I hope that we don't have that same feeling today about our freedom because there are a lot of people who have sacrificed so we could gather here today. I urge you all to remember that and try to go back to those youthful days when you got your driver's license and felt free then that you still have that enthusiasm today."

Weaver also encouraged those in attendance to become involved in the community.

Events like the Pikeville celebration take people being involved and their time and effort, he said.

"If there is something that you don't like, run for office and change it," he said. "If there is something you like then add to it. Remember what this day is all about."

The town's celebration is held a week prior to the Fourth of July for a reason, said Mike Hooks, president of Pikeville Lions Club.

"We feel like everybody else, the community people, would be taking vacation (on the Fourth)," he said. "We wanted to be involved in this celebration so we decided to do it about a week before the Fourth. We have a pretty good turnout.

"This is one way for the Lions Club to give back to the community. We have kids' games, entertainment, vendors. Everything the Lions Club does out here is free of charge. The vendors do charge for the wares that they sell."

"We have a good line-up of entertainment," he said. "We have games set up that the Lions Club is doing for the kids. The Boy Scouts are helping us with that. We have the beanbag toss, we have about four of those games, we have a croquet game set up. We have a nine-hole miniature golf set up. We have a basketball goal."

The presentation of colors was performed by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office Color Guard.

Entertainment included a puppet ministry, gospel singers, Shufflin Cupids (a line dance group), Tri-County blue grass group and Beth Ivey.

A number of vendors sold food and arts and crafts.

The Sudan Mini-Rigs put on a demonstration and local fire departments sponsored a horseshoe contest.

"We give prizes for the fire departments and that is a way we try to give back to the fire departments," Hooks said.

Rather than a traditional car show, the celebration featured a "cruise-in" of classic vehicles.

"A lot of area car shows have gone to the cruise-in because people like to come stay a little while then leave," Hooks said.

Also, there was no barbecue cooking contest like the one last year that was sponsored by local police.

"They just decided that with all of the other vendors we had that it really took away from the vendors that were already out here so they decided not to do that this year," he said.

Emma Howell was honored as Mrs. Pikeville and Hugh Howard, who was unable to attend, as Mr. Pikeville.

Hannah Bostic was named Little Miss Independence and Colby Thompson, Little Mr. Independence. Hannah is the daughter of Tommy and Michele Bostic and Colby is the son of Andy and Angie Thompson, all of Pikeville.

"I was really surprised because I really didn't know that was going to happen," Hannah said. "I am going to change my clothes and come back here and play some games. I like to get my hair sprayed (with colors) and I like the basketball and I like the one where you have to throw the ball through the hole.

"It's (celebration) is about the whole United States and the Lord about having this day. It is all about the flag."