The 57th annual Caraway Fourth of July celebration was a big hit again this year with a parade, carnival, special salute to veterans, grandstand entertainment, prizes, fireworks and special awards.
The Caraway Lions Club and the Caraway Parks Commission shared responsibilities for the festive occasion, and arranged a full schedule of activities for all those in attendance, from early to late.
Events leading up to the 4th of July celebration included: men's softball tournament, June 27-29; Fourth of July Beauty Pageant, Wee Miss & Mister, Tiny Miss, Little Miss, and 0-1 Year-old photo judging, June 30; Fourth of July Beauty Pageant continued, Junior Miss, Miss, and Senior Miss, July 1; four-wheeler pull, July 3; and a motorcycle contest, the afternoon of July 4.
The July 4th day celebration kicked off at 9 a.m. with a parade from Riverside School to the city park and back. Bill Foster and Asa Boatman were responsible for the parade lineup. Entries included decorated floats, tractors, horses, cars, four-wheelers, bikes, and scooters.
Cheryl Schoolfield, Bernard Berry and Barbara Weathers were in charge of the entertainment at the bandstand following the parade, which included presentation of the Person of the Year Award, salute to the veterans, prizes, and donations.
The bandstand program began at 10:00 a.m., with Junior Emery raising the American flag, as those in attendance joined in the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the National Anthem.
Harold Browning served as master of ceremonies for the bandstand activities, introducing Caraway Mayor Joe South. Mayor South presented Marvin Browning with the "Person of the Year Award," and the plaque read as follows: "This Person of the Year has been a friend to Caraway for years. We remember your singing, dancing and music in years past. We want to thank you for what you do best, sharing your enthusiasm with others and for helping make the July 4th picnic happen each year. Marvin Browning has the spirit of self sacrifice and because of that and the many hours he has poured into our community, we dedicate the July 4, 2003 picnic to him. The Caraway Lion's Club."
Lisa Boyd read the names of area veterans, and Bernard Berry and Kenny Weathers presented each with a special ribbon and pin, in recognition of their service. Area veterans included Pete C. Taylor, Melvin L. Kelly, Irving T. Smith Sr., Irving T. Smith Jr., Wiley Smith, Gary Wallace, Glen Vaughn, James Douglas, Charles Douglas, Joe Douglas, Floyd Douglas, Leroy Douglas, Edwin Douglas, Walter Guthrie, Michael L. Presley, Dwight Booth, Michael B. Schoolfield, Mona Meadows Pins, Herbert Ballard, Willie Simpson, Richard R. Schoolfield, Bobby C. Schoolfield, Howard Horton, Harry W. Wright, Rudy Anderson, Paul Doodle Taylor, Charles Taylor, Gary Taylor, Jerry Stokes, E.Z. Newsom, Hurst, Gary Don Hurst, Matt Hurst, Donnie Williams, Gerald Staggs, Cecil Taylor, Dalton Taylor, Eddie Joe Barker, Johnny McCormick, Jerry Dunkerson, Dennis Dunkerson, George Emery, Bob Goodman, Barkley Scott Bell, Jerry Martin, Ronnie Martin, AJ McKinney, Jerry Qualls, Pete Pittman, Robert Poe, Jackie Stone, Loyd Wycoff, Jerry Vaughn, Ricci Waugh, Clyde Wood, Skip Redding, Danny Wycoff, Terry Wycoff, Allen Boatman, William Faulkner, Skip Brickell, Jerry Foster, Donald Hatcher, Raymond Glen Presley, Johnny Rogers, Jerry Simpson, Charles Collins, Paul Adams, Johnny Berry, Larry Chubby Mason, Larry Harper, Ricky Wood, James Dunkerson, Dan Wycoff, Billy Pollard, Jack Fincher, Stynes Brown, Terry Hatchel, James Williams, Charlie Williams, Ed Ramsey Sr., Tommy Veach, Tommy Bagley, Harold Browning, Marvin Browning, Jamie Guthrie, John Booth, John Elinburg Jr., Dale Haas, James P. Howell, Billy Gross, Kenneth Luff, Larry Ervin, Charles Murl Schoolfield, Christopher M. Schoolfield, Charles Michael (Chuck) Schoolfield, Clarence Freddie Campbell, Ernest Shorty Griggs, Gary Hunt, Randy Vaughn, Paul Blake, Jim Howington, Tom Craig, Arvil Smith, Morris Wayne Heidelberg, John Southwell, Larry Shasteen, Ernest O. Horton, William Otis Carroll, Jr., Clarence Carroll, Bobby Carroll, Herbert Carroll, Paul Carroll, Ray Carroll, Brian Hollis, Mitchell Tipton, Charles Fletcher, Bud Fletcher, Bobby Blake, Alvin Blake, Virgil Polston, Billy Waugh, Nicky D. Bacon, William Tompkins, Allen Wayne Tompkins, James Tompkins, Billy Holden, Robert Anderson, Robert Adams, J.R. Smitty (First Casualty of WW11), Jerrell D. Kirksey, Gaylon Sanders, James Brickell, J.V. Leonard, O.P. Leonard, Irby Newsom, William H. Newsom, Gerald McDaniel and Bill Davenport.
Riverside student Carrie Schoolfield won her state winning VFW competition talk entitled "Freedom is an Obligation."
J.R. Hymn Tyme followed the Lion's Club presentation, then a prize drawing, and entertainment by Children of the King, Lori Bruce, Judy Hampton, and Donna Parsley.
The concert in the ballpark began at 5:30 p.m., under the direction of the City Park Commission. Eddie Dunigan served as master of ceremonies. Entertainment included: featured performer, Anthony Gomes; Dave and Ida Bluegrass Band, Nuthin' Fancy, Anna Brickell, Maranda Boyd.
A spectacular fireworks display concluded the day of celebration.
Bluff City Shows and Carnival provided games, rides and concessions for the picnic, under the direction of the Caraway Lions Club.
All winners of parade awards are asked to contact Barbara Weathers, at Caraway City Hall, 870-482-3716 so a list of names can be compiled for future reference.
Caraway Fourth of July planners expressed a special thanks to the City of Caraway employees, city policemen, city firemen, and the ambulance service for their help and assistance during the picnic, to ensure that everyone had a safe and secure holiday at the park.