July 7, 2010 Edition

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County marks holiday

ENJOY PICNIC ~ Austin Munroe, 13 months, of Strawberry enjoys a cool drink and attention from his grandpa, Larry Young of Smithville, at the 105th Portia Picnic on Saturday. The annual picnic includes a carnival, political speaking, live entertainment and pageants.
TD Photo ~ Leslie Ginn
Shantelle Prater
Staff Writer

Lawrence County was host to several Independence Day festivities over the holiday weekend.

The 105th annual Portia Picnic was held at the Portia City Park Thursday through Saturday.

"We sold a lot of advance tickets for the picnic at City Hall," said Portia Mayor Sue Dry. "I feel like there was a good crowd every night, and I think it went really well."

Johnson Amusement Company provided rides and concessions at the picnic, and armband events were set each evening. Political speaking and pageants were also held at the picnic on Saturday.

"I was really pleased with the political speaking," Dry said. "I thought it went well and that it was one of our better ones."

On Friday night an Independence Day celebration was held at Stewart Park in Walnut Ridge for all area residents.

The event featured an inflatable obstacle course and moonwalk for children and a large slide. The Ben Brand Band provided entertainment.

"The show turned out really good," said Walnut Ridge Mayor Michelle Rogers. "It was probably the largest crowd that we have had, and we always have a large crowd."

The fireworks were shot by Walnut Ridge resident Brian Butts, who does the city's show each year.

"We are so blessed to be able to do this in our community," Rogers said. "A lot of communities have cut out fireworks shows because they can't afford them."

Rogers stated that sponsors and donations provide the firework show for residents.

A fireworks show was also held Saturday night at the Strawberry ball field beginning at 7 p.m. Residents enjoyed entertainment provided by community members.

"I think the event went really good," said Strawberry Volunteer Fire Chief Stanley Mayland, who coordinated the event.

"The show was made possible by donations from the community and we really appreciate them. We are also thankful to J.R. Rogers who donated a sound system for the event."

City officials also released 34 sky lanterns at 9 p.m. in remembrance of fallen soldiers.

A firework show held at the Hoxie High School Football Field on Saturday night, beginning at 9:15 p.m.

Many watched from the surrounding area, and more than 50 people filled the football bleachers for the event, which was presented by father and son, Jerry and Alex Ward.

"I think the show went great," said Alex. "It ran fairly smoothly this year because we were more stationed and organized."

In addition Black Rock and Lynn hosted all-school reunions, and many class and family reunions were held over the holiday.

Minimal crimes was reported during the weekend.

"All in all we had a few public intoxications and DWIs from the holiday weekend," reported Captain Jody Dotson of the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department.

"We had some accidents too, but not too many. Most of our serious arrests were made from prior incidents."

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