Leachville Harvest Festival well attended

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Leachville Mayor Lisa Baldridge and country singer Buddy Jewell at the Leachville Harvest Festival.
By Revis Blaylock

The 2017 Leachville Harvest Festival was a great success starting with a parade and ending with a street dance on Saturday, Sept. 2. Even the weather proved to be in tune with making for a perfect day. Chairman Lisa Baldridge and committee members have worked for several months planning and preparing for the day which brought a huge crowd to the streets of Leachville.

Committee members included Rodney and Marti Robertson, Forrest and Shaylyn Robertson, Tommie Jo Kendrick, Shelley Greer, Kristy Penix, Shelby Sexton, Samantha Blocker, Kevin and Tuesday Cooper, Diana Sheppard, Ashley Lasater, Brenda Carmichael, Mark and Becky Thrasher, Steven Hamilton and Chris Cloninger.

Over 50 vendors set up along main street and the side streets with a variety of arts, crafts, foods and much more including a booth by the Mississippi County Republican Party.

Mari Hayden was the grand marshal for the 2017 Harvest Festival Float. She was driven by Nathan and Jill Sanders.

A parade kicked off the day at 10 a.m. with Mari Hayden honored to be the grand marshal. She was riding in a convertible driven by Nathan and Jill Sanders.

Following the parade, State Representative Johnny Rye and Karen Wallace, wife of Senator Dave Wallace, made a presentation to the family of the late Mayor Ralph Wells. They presented a letter from Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson extending his condolences on the loss of Mayor Wells. Rep. Rye read the letter in its entirety praising Mayor Wells for his seven terms as mayor and his time as city alderman.

The letter read in part, “Throughout his tenure as mayor, he worked to create a better Arkansas and his service to this great State will be remembered.”

Harvest memories float.

Mayor Wells' children, Barry, Brice and Dena, accepted the framed letter.

Rep. Rye and Mrs. Wallace presented Howard Funeral Service with a plaque from the city in recognition of the family's 100th year in business serving Leachville and the surrounding area.

The Smith family was also presented a senate citation in honor of E.M. Howard and four generations of his descendants making their business the oldest business on the Buffalo Island area of Northeast Arkansas. Senator Wallace gathered information and worked on the senate citation. He was unable to attend the festival as he was working with a disaster team in Houston, Texas. Rep. Rye and Mrs. Wallace made the presentation of the citation on his behalf.

Leachville Harvest Festival Miss Mess

"One hundred years is a long time," Rep. Rye said. "There are very few businesses that can stay that long but these folks have stayed in Leachville for over 100 years. I believe the reason is because of the way they treat the public."

Some of the activities of the day included a puppy pageant with Nordica Butner serving as emcee, cake walks, games, inflatable houses, pony rides, horseshoe tournament, Miss Mess Leachville crowned, free ice cream, kiss a pig contest, drawings, Pistols “N” Petticoats square dancers, magic show by Rocky Clement and much more.

In the puppy pageant, Nikki “Bella” Cena Couch was crowned queen. Awards were also presented for talent, costume and pet and owner look-a-like.

Steven Hamilton was crowned Miss Mess 2017.

The council members were good sports and agreed to kiss a pig for the one raising the most money. Attendants had the opportunity to vote by giving a donation. Raising the most money and kissing the pig was Rodney Robertson.

Singer/writer Bryce Selby sang a song he wrote about his hometown of Leachville.

Taking the main stage throughout the afternoon were Products of Grace, a gospel singing group; Ken Wadley and Friends; and Buddy Jewell.

There was a meet and greet time with Jewell with all of the proceeds going to the Leachville Food Pantry.

The evening ended with a street dance from 9-10 p.m.

Committee Chair Baldridge expressed her appreciation throughout the day to everyone who donated, worked, planned and attended the event.

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