Piggott Celebrates Fourth of July With Annual Picnic
Near perfect weather and large crowds was the order of the day on Friday, July 4, as Piggott marked Independence Day with its annual community celebration to benefit the Piggott Cemetery. This year, the festivities kicked-off Thursday evening with the first of three pageants and an armband night on the midway.
On Friday, the activities continued at 9 a.m. with the traditional parade, led by World War II combat veterans Norman Steward and Tim Tanner as grand marshal. And, throughout the remainder of the day the crowds remained, as this year's event enjoyed the cooler-than-average holiday.
The first pageant for 2014 was held Thursday evening, as Young Junior Miss Piggott was chosen from young ladies ages 9-12. This year's winner is Lexie Green of Rector, the 10 year old daughter of Luke and Danielle Green. First alternate is Jacy Featherston of Piggott, 11 year old daughter of Sara Wellman and Jeremy Featherston, and the second alternate is Hailee Burnett of Campbell, 10 year old daughter of Micca and John Burnett.
After a short break, the Junior Miss Piggott Pageant was held for contestants age 13 to 16. This year's winner is Rianna Holloway of Campbell, the 16 year old daughter of Rickie and Angel Holloway. First alternate is Colby Shaye Lynch of Greenway, the 16 year old daughter of Bryan and Angel Lynch, and second alternate is Ashleigh Bedwell of Campbell, 15 year old daughter of Dena and Trey Bedwell.
Wrapping up Thursday's festivities was the Mrs. Piggott Pageant, and this year's queen is Sherri Douglas, of Rector. Chosen as first alternate is Becky Lindsey, also of Rector, while the reigning Mrs. Clay County, Debi Chase of Piggott, was second alternate.
A near standing-room-only crowd of spectators lined Main Street Friday morning, and despite a short break for the usual southbound freight train were treated to a long and entertaining parade.
Afterward, the traditional opening ceremonies were held on the main stage at the picnic grounds, with the PHS Marching Mohawk Band performing the National Anthem. An emotional official welcome address was then offered by long time Piggott Alderman Jim Poole, as he stood-in for Mayor Gerald Morris, who had passed away suddenly just eight days before.
Another tradition continued following the opening ceremonies, with over a dozen political speakers taking to the stage as they stumped for regional and state office.
Introduced by former State Rep. Mike Patterson, the Republican contingent first took the stage with remarks offered by a number of those seeking office, including gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson and senatorial hopeful Tom Cotton.
Patterson then introduced the group of Democrats for their campaign remarks, and included among them were U.S. Senator Mark Pryor and gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross.
The kitchen and dining room also opened around mid-morning, managed once again this year by Kim and Kenny Woods of The Piggott Diner. The log cabin was also open for business, selling barbecue by the sandwich, and by the pound, to the appreciative crowd.
The pageant schedule continued following the political speakers, although the large number of candidates speaking resulted in a delay.
The first pageant of the day was for Mr. and Miss Baby Piggott, with both a king and queen crowned along with alternates. This year's Baby Miss Piggott is Paisyn Ulmer of Rector, 10 month old daughter of Jeromy Ulmer and Kayla Hampton. First alternate is Adalee Wood of Piggott, 11 month old daughter of Wesley and Chelsea Wood, and the second alternate is Avia Grace Taylor of Piggott, 11 month old daughter of Robby and Julie Taylor.
Crowned Baby Mr. Piggott for 2014 is Caleb Branson of Rector, nine month old son of Adam and Rachel Benson. First alternate is Jase Welch of Piggott, eight month old son of Justin and Lauren Welch, and second alternate is Jeter Fuller of Rector, nine month old son of Lucas and Breanna Fuller.
The Tiny Mr. and Miss Piggott pageant followed, for contestant's ages 12 to 24 months. This year's queen is Maybree Bliss Steward of Holcomb, the 23 month old daughter of Kyle and Brooke Steward. First alternate is Jasey Johnson of Qulin, the 17 month old daughter of Josh and Holly Johnson, and second alternate is Peyton Wagner of St. Louis, 23 month old daughter of Josh and Alesha Wagner.
Crowned Tiny Mister for 2014 is Leighton Daniels of Piggott, the 15 month old son of Emily and Aaron Parson. First alternate is Cashion Andrew Wade of McDougal, 15 month old son of Luke and Jessica Wade, and second alternate is Oakley Ryan Vangilder of Rector, 12 month old son of Mitch and Amy Vangilder.
A variety of entertainers were also featured at this year's picnic, ranging from local talent to a regional gospel group, Eldon Wright and Southern Tradition. At 3 p.m. the pageant schedule continued with the Little Mr. and Miss Independence pageant for boys and girls ages two to four.
This year's Little Miss Independence is Kloie Seal of Piggott, the three year old daughter of Billy Joe and Priscilla Seal. First alternate is Brileigh Daniels of Piggott, four year old daughter of Emily and Aaron Parson, and the second alternate is Zoey Cabella Godwin of Pocahontas, the four year old daughter of Caleb and Kirsten Godwin.
Meanwhile, Little Mr. Independence is Jaylan Bronson of Rector, two year old son of Adam and Rachel Bronson. First alternate is Clay Jones of Conway, four year old son of Jake and Amanda Jones, and the second alternate is Carson McKinnie of Piggott, two year old son of Shayna Duffy and Cody McKinnie.
The Little Miss Firecracker pageant followed at 4 p.m., open to girls age five to eight. This year's winner is Brynlee Rabah of Rector, five year old daughter of Aaron and Brittany Rabah. First alternate is Halen Kenna Miller of Paragould, the five year old daughter of Dustin and Heather Miller, and the second alternate is Hadley McAtee of Kennett, the seven year old daughter of Bart and Laurie McAtee.
The first annual auction of donated items was held at 5 p.m., with Colonel Gary Magee and his crew taking care of the sale. Dozens of donated items went across the block to the highest bidder, with all proceeds benefiting the Piggott Cemetery Association. At last report the totals were still being tallied, but early indications are the auction generated over $1,800.
Following the auction the crowd was treated to more live music, as they prepared for the evening festivities.
The crowd at the picnic grounds swelled once again around dusk, as nearly two dozen young ladies competed for the title, Miss Piggott 2014.
Taking the crown this year is Hannah Moore of Malden, the 18 year old daughter of Jodi Pogue. First alternate is Sydney Lauren Tarno of Piggott, the 18 year old daughter of Ashley Pollard and Chris Tarno, and second alternate is Rachel Lampkin of Rector, 19 year old daughter of Jerry Lampkin and Debbie Storie. As Miss Piggott for 2014, Moore also received a $500 scholarship courtesy of Piggott State Bank.
The evening continued with the annual fireworks display, and although the show started a few minutes late it proved to be a crowd-pleaser. Underwriting the cost of this year's fireworks show were Baker Implement Company, Piggott State Bank, Legacy Equipment and the Piggott Cemetery Association.
The annual picnic wrapped-up around 10:30 p.m. with the drawing for three $5,000 prizes. This year the winners included Joyce Little of Pollard, Amber Gifford of Corning and James Shelton of Paragould.
Following the drawing the event officially closed for 2014 allowing the clean-up and preparation for the 2015 event to begin.
The Piggott Cemetery Association offered their thanks to everyone who made the event possible, including their sponsors, volunteers and especially everyone who attended this year's picnic.