Caraway is known for its traditional Fourth of July celebration and fireworks display. The year 2002 marked the 56th year for the event. The Caraway Lions Club and Park Commission work throughout the year to make the day a success offering something for all ages. Throughout the years the emphasis is always celebrating freedom and honoring those that have sacrificed to keep America free.
Throughout the week activities were held at the park including the Bluff City Shows and Carnival, entertainment at the bandstand, 4-wheeler pull, antique tractor display, local entertainment, games and prizes.
Harold Browning, Danny Dunigan and Cheryl Schoolfield served as masters of ceremonies on the Fourth of July introducing the entertainment, giving away prizes and welcoming friends and neighbors.
The celebration was kicked off with a parade with fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, antique cars, antique tractors, floats, horses, 4-wheelers and more. Craighead County Judge Dale Haas road on a road grader and greeted the people.
Trophies were presented to parade winners in several divisions.
4-wheeler division: Shania Junyor, first place; Curtis Taylor, second place; and Chris Kelton, third place.
Antique tractor division: Dennis Carroll, first place; Ricky Carroll, second place; Gary Fletcher, third place.
Float division: First Baptist Church, first place; John Elinburg, second place; Curtis Taylor, third place.
Horses: Chris Pfiefer, first place; B&J Carriage, second place; Lonnie Anderson, third place.
Antique Cars: Troy Douglas, first place; Leroy Douglas, second place; Jerry Brown, third place.
Representatives of the U.S. Army National Guard took part in the parade and held an impressive flag raising ceremony. The National Anthem was sung by Steven Sanders.
The crowd remained standing while names of Caraway veterans were read by Cheryl Schoolfield.
Each year a "Person of the Year" is selected for his or her outstanding service to the community. The 2002 honoree was Orwell Moore.
Moore was presented a plaque by Lions Club President Harold Browning.
Moore bought the world-famous All American Red Heads Women's Basketball Team in 1955 and moved its headquarters to Caraway. Browning said he traveled the world with his team and made them a part of Caraway.
Moore thanked the Caraway Lions Club for the honor.
"No matter where we traveled with our team, we were always proud to say that we are from Caraway, Ark.," Moore said.
Entertainment on the bandstand included the JR Hymn Tyme Gospel Group, the gospel group New Hope Singers, Judy Hampton's 50's rock and roll, vocalist Lori Reams, and Donna Parsley and The Countless Others rock band from Manila. John Pasley, Jr. of Manila was in charge of the light and sound at the bandstand.
Prizes were given away throughout the day.
Special guests included Congressman Marion Berry, Circuit Judge Candidate H.T. Moore, Circuit Judge Pam Honeycutt, Nancy Nelms and others who spoke briefly during the day.
A patriotic dessert contest was added to the festivities this year.
Bands performing inside the park included Serious Trouble, Trial & Error, Nothin Fancy, Wild Flower and James Dixon with Positive Country.
A special salute to EMTs, firefighters, and police officers was held at the ballpark preceding the entertainment as a tribute to those that lost their lives in the 9-11 terrorist attack. A huge American flag was carried in and raised inside the ballpark by local firemen, EMTs and officers.
Donations were taken through the day for Brian Stallings, a 2002 graduate of Riverside High School. Brian and his family will be moving from Caraway to St. Louis where he is on the waiting list for a lung transplant.
Caraway Mayor Danny Dunigan introduced Brian and presented him with the donations. Brian thanked everyone in the community for their support.