October 6, 2010 Edition

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British Invasion of the
Rock and Roll Highway

John Bland

Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee member Danny West predicted Thursday that one day in the future that Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, might be synonymous with Abbey Road and The Beatles when one Googles them on the Internet.

TD editor Gretchen Hunt said "Abbey Road and Walnut Ridge" already have made a splash on Google. This is a result of the Tourism Committee's plans to build a life-size metal rendition of The Beatles Abbey Road album cover at Walnut Ridge Regional Airport's Swindle Field.

The Tourism Committee unveiled their plans at the quarterly meeting of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce. It was an outstanding meeting, complete with the rock and roll decorations to coordinate with the "Rock and Roll Highway 67" theme. Kari Shanks and a crew from Wal-Mart were in charge of the decorations and set-up.

The Tourism Committee plans to focus on the fact that The Beatles only stop in Arkansas occurred at the Walnut Ridge Airport. We like H.T. Moore's clever name to tie in The Beatles to the Rock and Roll Highway: "The British Invasion of the Rock and Roll Highway." H.T., who is an attorney in Paragould, covered The Beatles Walnut Ridge landing for The TD on Sept. 19, 1964, when he was in high school.

At least five people, who were on hand to greet The Beatles back in 1964, were present at the meeting. They included: H.T., Charles Snapp, Carrie Mae Snapp, State Rep. J.R. Rogers and John Allen.

Carrie Mae was a local leader of "The Beatles Forever Fan Club," while J.R. said he lived near the airport and went to see what the commotion was all about.

H.T. Moore reminded the Chamber group assembled that 1964 was before cell phones, Internet, Twitter and instant communication. He was about the only media representative present.

I recall that the late Newell Mock, father of Shelby Wayland, took photos of The Beatles' landing. We used two of them in The TD. H.T. also noted that he and others present, such as Carrie Mae, receive calls from media about every five years on the anniversary of The Beatles landing in Walnut Ridge.

We applaud the vision of Dr. Brett Cooper, chairman, and the other Tourism Committee members.


Lawrence County residents have an opportunity this Saturday to take advantage of a totally free event that offers health screenings, safety tips, food and fun at the Hoxie Service Center and Hoxie Fire Department. The annual Lawrence County Prostate Screening and Health Fair is set for 8 a.m. to noon and the annual Hoxie Fire Department Open House and Safety Awareness Day is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Hoxie Fire Department will begin serving free barbecue plates at 11 a.m.

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