Downtown Rector comes alive
One of the main goals for the renewal of the popular Mayfest celebration in Rector was to bring back life and activity to the downtown area.
That was accomplished beautifully Saturday as the big event drew a nice crowd to the Rector Downtown Park for children's games, music, a pageant, political speeches and just an all-around good time.
Haven Cagle, the daughter of David and Karen Cagle, was crowned Mayfest Queen during the celebration. The pageant was open to girls in the fifth and sixth grades at Rector Elementary School. She was awarded $100 by the sponsoring Rector Area Chamber of Commerce and a crown of flowers donated by Rector Flowers. Other young ladies participating in the pageant were Mikala Arnold, Madison Cate, Sydney Crawford, Kaylee Hartsfield and Chelsey Scott.
Judges were Lane Wozniak of California, now living in Rector, and Kristie Eagle of Indiana.
Jade Mount served as mistress of ceremonies for the pageant.
The event started with a pet contest which drew a lot of interest from owners of all ages. The title of cutest pet was a tie between Snowy River Cobb, a puppy owned by Jessie Cobb, and a pair of kittens named Sugar and Pepsi owned by Bailey Bearden.
Next up was the popular coins-in-the-haystack for children aged 2-5. They rushed into the hay and scrambled for prize money donated by the chamber.
That was followed by children's races in which Mylesa Grant won the sack race, Jessie Cobb and Nicolas Mesa captured the three-legged race and Nicklous Hardin came out on top in the egg race.
RHS gifted and talented students assisted in the children's games and judged the pet contest. They were Jessica Scott, Kelsey Wynn, Toshya Leonard, Melissa Weaver and Casey Hollis.
Musical entertainment during the day was provided by the Rector High School Band and Gary Prince and Sugar Creek, a country-rock band from Paragould. Both were well-received by the crowd at the city's traditional bandstand.
"Arkansas' Political Heritage -- The People Rule," was the theme of the event, in cooperation with the Arkansas Heritage Commission. State Rep. Mike Patterson made opening remarks and encouraged people to support the veterans memorial project being undertaken by the city. Also speaking was State Sen. Robert Thompson.
Candidates who took to the stage included Gary Howell for county judge, Ronnie Cole and Gerald McClung for county sheriff, Janet Luff Kilbreath and Beverly (Harris) Scott for circuit clerk, Pat Poole and Tom Morris for county clerk and Rick Rodery and David Copelin for district judge. They all will be competing in the May 20 Preferential Primary Election.
Judy Leach of Rector was the winner in the drawing for the $300 merchants prize. She will be able to redeem the money at any of the participating merchants, who were Dr. Bryan Blackshare, Sain's Collision, Dr. Stephen Duncan, Hamilton Farms, Bowden Family Restaurant, Shelia Dale Insurance, Rector Subway, Glen Sain Motor Sales, Liberty Bank, Harps Food Store, Regions Bank, Now & Then, Above & Beyond, Irby's Funeral Service, Clay County Democrat, Underwood Furniture, Earls' A/C, Heat, Electric Plus Appliances, Mosley Auto Parts, Rector Flowers, Rector Downtown Drug, Rector Realty, Mitchell Funeral Home and Rector Barber & Style.
Crafts were displayed by Marty Featherston and Michelle Hartsfield provided baked goods. The Rector Lions Club sponsored the refreshment stand for the event.
"Mayfest 2008 was a wonderful event in Rector's Downtown Park," said Cyndi Corkran, community development director. "Although the day started out cold and windy, the breeze began to warm and the park began to fill with people, pets and the excitement of the day to come.
"Many thanks go out to everyone who made the day possible. What a wonderful community in which we live."
"We were really pleased to bring back the Mayfest this year," said chamber president Ron Kemp. "We plan to have more and more events and promotions in the downtown area in the future. This will tie in well with our inclusion in the Arkansas Downtown Network, a program designed to rejuvenate central business districts." He said committee members Corkran, Betty Benson, Todd Watson and Nancy Kemp are in Little Rock this week at a training program for Rector's participation in the ADN program.
Kemp thanked all those who worked to make the event a success, as well as the participating merchants, who made the drawing possible. "I especially want to thank Cyndi Corkran for all her hard work on this project. We already are starting to see dividends due to her enthusiasm and commitment."