Fourth of July Picnic a Big Hit
The 86th edition of the Piggott Fourth of July Picnic will go down in history as a big success, although the evening was interrupted by the traditional early summer rain showers. The new Johnson Brothers carnival was well received, and attended, both Wednesday night and all day Thursday--and continued in operation both Friday and Saturday evenings in an extended visit.
This year's picnic actually kicked-off Wednesday, July 3 with the first three of the annual pageants.
In the first event Elise Gossett, age nine, of Piggott was chosen as Young Junior Miss. She's the daughter of Daniel and Mistie Gossett. Her court included first alternate Sophie Rachel Simmons, 10 year old daughter of Stephen and Jamie Simmons of Rector; second alternate Natalie Holloway, nine year old daughter of Rickie and Angel Holloway of Campbell; third alternate Annalyse Todd, 12 year old daughter of Daren and Kim Todd of Kennett and fourth alternate Emma Welborn, 11 year old daughter of Rob and Angie Welborn of Piggott.
Chosen as Junior Miss Piggott in the second event Wednesday evening was Tori Hill, 15, daughter of Shannon and Corbin Hill of Rector. Her court included, first alternate Abbie Welborn, 13 year old daughter of Rob and Angie Welborn of Piggott; second alternate Sadie Sawyers, 15 year old daughter of Chuck and Rachel Sawyers of Rector; third alternate Megan Johnson, 14 year old daughter of Ronald and Brandi Johnson of Piggott and fourth alternate, Ashlee Vaughn, 15 year old daughter of Connie and Brian Vaughn of Pollard.
The finale Wednesday evening was the crowning of Mrs. Piggott for 2013. This year's queen is Heather Nicole Miller, 30, of Paragould. Her court included first alternate Jenna Parrish, 27, of Paragould; second alternate Brandy Jackson, 32, of Pollard; third alternate Amanda Cavaness, 27, of Rector and fourth alternate Andrea Yount, 29, of Pollard.
Thursday morning a large crowd was on hand for the annual parade, and welcomed Grand Marshal Charles Wright and the procession along Main Street. The after-parade crowd at the picnic grounds was also impressive--prompting many out of town visitors to comment it was the largest in a number of years.
Following the welcoming comments by Mayor Gerald Morris, a variety of local county, state and federal office holders and seekers spoke to the crowd.
Leading the way were two of the state's Congressmen, Rick Crawford and Mike Ross. Crawford was on hand to address his First District constituents, while Ross has announced his candidacy for governor in the 2014 General Election.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who cannot run for re-election due to term limitations, was also in attendance. The crowd also heard from State Senator Robert Thompson of Paragould, State Representative Joe Jett of Success and the man he replaced in Little Rock, former State Representative Mike Patterson of Piggott.
Comments were also offered by a variety of candidates for office, including John Burkhalter, who is seeking the job of Lt. Governor and Attorney General candidate Leslie Rutledge of Batesville.
Judge Raymond Abramson, who is seeking a seat on the state court of appeals, was also on hand along with Circuit Judge candidate Dan Ritchey.
After the political speakers wrapped up their comments, entertainment was provided by young Ty Winchester and Rodney Rouse.
Throughout the day entertainment and pageants kept the crowd busy, while the dining room and midway remained very active.
The first pageants of the day Thursday were the Baby Mr. and Miss Piggott pageants. Baby Miss Piggott is Maybree Bliss Steward, 11 month old daughter of Kyle and Brooke Steward of Holcomb; first alternate is Josey Johnson, five month old daughter of Joshua and Holly Johnson of Qulin; second alternate is Adalyn Nicolle, three month old daughter of Jason and Ashley Nicolle of Paragould; third alternate is Kinsley Southard, four week old daughter of Summer Friedman and Jared Southard of Campbell and fourth alternate is Lainey Moore, 11 month old daughter of Heather and Josh Moore of Piggott.
Chosen to wear the crown of Baby Mister Piggott was Tripp Simpson, nine month old son of Jason and Amanda Simpson of Piggott. This year's first alternate is Jasper Eli Thacker, six month old son of Ashlie and Jason Thacker of Paragould; second alternate is Leighton Parson, three month old son of Emily and Aaron Parson of Piggott; third alternate is Hudson Seal, six month old son of Danny and Alissa Seal of Piggott and fourth alternate is Kannon Hicks, nine month old son of Sarah Fannin and Josh Hicks of Piggott.
Up next was the Tiny Mr. and Miss Piggott pageant. This year's Tiny Miss Piggott is MacKenzie Rhein, 12 month old daughter of Blake and Laura Rhein of Gentry, Ark., first alternate is Laney Benson, one year old daughter of Landon and Hayley Benson of Qulin; second alternate is Aubrie Davis, one year old daughter of Jeff and Ambra Davis of Piggott; third alternate is Aliya Ray, one year old daughter of Cody and Pam Ray of Piggott and fourth alternate is Lilyan Rae Mobley, 22 month old daughter of Matthew and Heather Mobley of Paragould.
Tiny Mr. Piggott for 2013 is Maddox Yount, 20 month old son of Matt and Andrea Yount of Pollard; first alternate is Kyson Rabah, 18 month old son of Aaron and Britney Rabah of Rector; second alternate is Levi Midkiff, 20 month old son of Aaron and Ashley Midkiff of Piggott and third alternate is Colton Crow, 18 month old son of Angel Williams and Ben Crow of Greenway.
The Little Mr. and Miss Independence Pageant followed, for boys and girls ages two to four. This year's Little Miss Independence is Abigail Marie Grace Thacker, four year old daughter of Jason and Ashlie Thacker of Paragould; first alternate is Leslea Parrish, three year old daughter of Ashley and Derick Parrish of Rector; second alternate is Brynlee Rabah, four year old daughter of Aaron and Brittany Rabah of Rector; third alternate is Lily Teachenor, four year old daughter of Jamie and Jen Teachenor of Nashville, Tenn. and fourth alternate is Barrett Lieblong, four year old daughter of John and Kacey Lieblong of Jonesboro.
Little Mr. Independence is Mason Hubbard, two year old son of Falon Taylor and Justin Hubbard of Piggott; first alternate is Riley Hatcher, three year old son of Kitty and Heath Hatcher of Weiner; second alternate is Archer Kennedy, two year old son of John and Natalie Kennedy of Piggott and the third alternate is Austin Ray, two year old son of Cody and Pam Ray of Piggott.
Thursday afternoon girls competed for the title of Little Miss Firecracker, and this year's queen is Charly Johnson, eight year old daughter of Joshua and Holly Johnson of Qulin. First alternate is Gabbee Sanders, five year old daughter of Amanda and Brad Sanders of Piggott; second alternate is Ella Jane Lemings, five year old daughter of Spencer and Kari Lemings of Gideon; third alternate is Leslie Reaves, six year old daughter of Terry and Carrie Reaves of Piggott and fourth alternate is Micha Laxton, six year old daughter of Stephanie Blackmon and Cody Laxton of Piggott.
The early evening performance by Nashville singer-songwriter Jamie Teachenor drew a large crowd, but was interrupted by Mother Nature as several much-needed showers rolled through. Qulin-area native Teachenor was undaunted by the conditions though, and completed his two hour show under cover--but did complete his set for an appreciative crowd.
The Miss Piggott Pageant began under wet conditions, and progressed thanks to the covered stage. But, late in the contest conditions improved.
Miss Piggott 2013 is Heather Porter, 19, of Poplar Bluff. She's the daughter of Teresa Bradshaw. First alternate is Sydney Tarno, 17, daughter of Chris Tarno and Ashley Pollard of Piggott; second alternate is Sydney Simmons, 18, daughter of Stephen and Jamie Simmons of Rector; third alternate is Meagan Massey, 18, daughter of Jerry and Michelle Massey of Piggott and fourth alternate is Chelsey Scott, 17, daughter of Joseph Scott and Jennifer Wilson of Rector.
Simmons had actually served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the Wednesday night pageants, while Katy Strickland and Haven Cagle shared the duties for the Thursday pageants.
By 10 p.m. conditions were near perfect for the annual fireworks display, which was one of the biggest in picnic history. Afterward, the drawing for the three $5,000 cash prizes was held and this year's winners are David Gregory, June Williams and Dave Beutel all of Piggott.
The 2013 Piggott Fourth of July Picnic was also well supported by the community, allowing many of the improvements. Piggott State Bank provided the $500 scholarship for Miss Piggott, paid $1,000 toward the fireworks display and provided the sound system for the event through Patrick Patterson. The annual picnic also enjoyed re-newed participation, with a number of organizations and support groups operating stands--many for the first time.
As of Tuesday afternoon the final numbers were still being tabulated, but early indications were the event was a financial success. All proceeds from the Piggott Fourth of July Picnic and Homecoming benefit the Piggott Cemetery Association and the continued maintenance and upkeep of the Piggott Cemetery.