Caraway Celebration draws large crowd

Thursday, July 15, 2004
Barry Riley (center) was named 2004 Man of the Year at the annual Caraway Independence Day celebration. Pictured with Riley are Bernard Berry (left) with the Caraway Lions Club, and Ronnie Junyor, Eastern Craighead County RN and firefighter. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Caraway's 58th annual Independence Day celebration was held on Saturday, July 3. It was kicked off with the annual parade drawing 128 entries. Caraway Lions Club, Park Commission and community take pride in the Fourth of July extravaganzas each year.

The activities began on Tuesday evening with the opening of Bluff City Shows carnival. Bluff City Shows has been coming to Caraway for many years. Fourth generation owners are Dalmer and Evelyn Giles.

Each year the First Baptist Church of Caraway prepares a homemade meal to serve to the carnival workers welcome them to Caraway. The Lions Club presented the church with an appreciation plaque for their efforts.

Bernard Berry, Lion Club member, expressed appreciation to Craighead County Sheriff Jack McCann and Mississippi County for allowing inmates and trustees to help with the set up and the clean up of the annual celebration.

Activities throughout the week included lip sync and karaoke contests.

The red, white and blue parade kicked off the day's activities. Winners of the parade in each division are:

Horses -- Chris Fifler, first place; Don Staggs, second place; Amanda Churchill, third place.

Four-wheelers -- Kim Junyor, first place; Shania Junyor, second place; Tiffany Alsup, third place.

Floats -- New Hope Baptist Church, first place; Harold Browning, second place; Harold Browning, third place.

Cars -- Leroy Douglas, first place; James Schoolfield, second place; Mark Douglas, third place.

Trucks -- Jerry Brown, first place; Tory Douglas, second place; Clayton Miller, third place.

Tractors -- Jemmie Fletcher, first place; Bill Foster, second place; Bill Foster, third place.

Motorcycles -- Roger Williams, first place; Earnest Cocker, second place; Lee Dallas, third place.

Judges for the parade were Billy Pendergrass, Marty Browning, Paula Browning and Jimmy Rogers.

Following the parade a flag raising ceremony was held with the National Anthem sung by James Sanders.

Raising the flag for the 2004 celebration was Caraway's George Emery. Emery was a World War II Navy veteran serving in the South Pacific. The Emerys have been part of the Caraway Fourth celebration throughout the years and are active members of the community. Emery and his wife, Lillian, have been married 62 years and raised their family in Caraway.

Eddie Dunigan took the stage to recognize veterans of the area for all of the brave men and women who have served and are serving in the Armed Forces. Names were read and those in attendance came forward to be honored. Each were presented with a ribbon.

Each year the Caraway Lions Club presents a person of the year award to a deserving member of the community. This year's award went to Barry Riley. Riley is very active in the community, serves on the search and rescue squad, the volunteer fire department and wherever he is needed.

The celebration was dedicated to Riley. The plaque was inscribed:

"As Winton Churchill once said, 'We make a living by what we get,' we make a life by what we give. This year's person of the year knows how to make a life. He gives more to others in a week than some do in a lifetime. In addition to working every day to earn a living, he still makes numerous ambulance runs in the middle of the night. He has been an EMT for 12 years for our Volunteer Ambulance Service and a very active member for 13 years on our Volunteer Fire Department. He is the first Caraway fireman to earn his Basic and Advanced Fire Fighter Patch. He works hard at researching and securing grants for the fire department and ambulance service. He is also a devoted weather spotter for our area, and because of the many hours he has poured into his Community, the Caraway Lions Club is proud to dedicate this July 4, 2004, picnic to Barry Riley."

Entertainment on the bandstand included the Hallelujah gospel group, Children of the King, Donna Parsley and Judy Hampton. Sound on the bandstand was provided by John Parsley, Jr.

Local political candidates attending had the opportunity to introduce themselves to the crowd.

Drawings were held throughout the day.

Commemorative tee shirts were designed by Kenny Weathers and Creative Concepts.

Evening activities included a concert by Nuthin' Fancy Band of Caraway who opened for Steff Mahan of Nashville, Tenn., who took the stage at 8 p.m.

Following the concert door prizes totaling $2,000 were given away.

As the custom, Caraway concluded the celebration with a huge fireworks exhibition, second to none.

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