October 31, 2007 Edition

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Festival draws crowd to WR

Karen Williams (left), chair of the Chamber's Activities Committee, cheers as Walnut Ridge resident Darlene Moore hugs Alvin Lewis as he comes to the stage during the Iron Mountain Festival. Lewis, a member of the 875th Engineer Battalion, which recently returned from Iraq, was among soldiers recognized on Saturday. Moore sang the National Anthem after members of the Walnut Ridge National Guard unit, which is scheduled to leave for Iraq in January, posted the colors.
Submitted Photo ~ Robert Warden

Gretchen Hunt

Live entertainment, food vendors, a variety of booths and perfect weather helped make downtown Walnut Ridge the place to be on Saturday.

Karen Williams, chair of the Chamber's Activities Committee, which organizes the Iron Mountain Festival, said she approximates the crowd at between 4,000 and 5,000 people.

"I think it was the best ever," Williams said. "It was a huge success."

Special events during the festival included the annual Walk of Hope, a martial arts demonstration and board break by the Allied Tang Soo Do Federation, a Miss Iron Mountain contest and a dog costume contest.

The festival, which is an annual event, has grown over the years into what Williams sees as a great asset for the city of Walnut Ridge and Lawrence County.

"The event has definitely put Walnut Ridge on the 'festival map,'" she said.

As vendors were packing up their wares, they were already committing to a return trip next year, according to Williams.

"We hope it will be even bigger and better next year," she said.

Williams said a special thanks is due to the Walnut Ridge Fire Department, Mayor Michelle Rogers and Walnut Ridge School for helping at the last minute to make the outdoor movie possible.

She also said that many volunteers put in countless hours to make the event possible. She praised the committee and others who helped with the event for their work that day, as well as their work in planning the event.

Chamber Board Chair Clay Sloan said Williams deserves a lot of the credit for the festival's success.

"One of the major reasons why the Iron Mountain Festival was such a major success this year is because of Karen Williams' leadership," he said. "She started early this year on the planning and has been working steadily on the project with her committee for the past six months."

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