Marmaduke Celebrates Independence Day

Thursday, June 30, 2016
Co-grand marshals Geraldine and Ben Whitaker.(TD photo/Jessica Rainwater)

Marmaduke's annual Independence Day Picnic was held over the weekend, with proceeds going to six local cemeteries for upkeep -- Harvey's Chapel, Cudd, Hartsoe, Wright, Pleasant Grove and Starnes.

Picnic organizer Lorie Long said there are still a couple of bills to pay, but approximately $300 to $400 will go to each cemetery.

Festivities kicked off with the Petite Miss Liberty Bell, Miss Preteen Liberty Bell and Junior Miss Liberty Bell pageants.

Nine-year-old Ava Caroline Anthony, the daughter of Shanon and Jennifer Anthony of Marmaduke, was crowned Petite Miss Liberty Bell. First alternate was seven-year-old Maci Smith, the daughter of Matthew Smith and Lindsey Baggett of Kennett, and second alternate was Jarrah Lilly Buck, the six-year-old daughter of Jarrod Buck of Paragould.

Miss Preteen Liberty Bell was Jadyn Elizabeth Edgar, the 11-year-old daughter of Jamie and Shannon Gill and B.J. Edgar of Paragould. First alternate was Emile Renia Dowell, the 10-year-old daughter of Tim and Carrie Travelstead of Marmaduke, and second alternate was 10-year-old Crystal Escandon, the daughter of Jaunita and Camil Escandon of Marmaduke.

Isabella Rouse, the 15-year-old daughter of Kim Pickens and Dr. Brandon Rouse of Kennett, was crowned Junior Miss Liberty Bell. First alternate was Holly Taylor, the 15-year-old daughter of Amanda Taylor of Kennett, and second alternate was 15-year-old Abbie Coronado, the daughter of Jessica Smith and Sparkie Coronado of Kennett.

Saturday began with a hot, muggy morning filled with Marmaduke locals and out-of-town guests lining the street for the annual parade. Ben and Geraldine Whitaker, longtime Marmaduke residents, were honored as co-grand marshals leading the parade, followed by politicians, fire trucks and tons of smiling children.

"The community has been blessed to have the Whitakers a part of it," Marmaduke city clerk Betty Jackson said of the grand marshals.

After the parade everyone moved into the community center where the welcome, invocation and singing of the National Anthem took place followed by little league teams being recognized and political speeches from State Sen. Blake Johnson, State Rep. Joe Jett and several Greene County Sheriff candidates.

The smallest babies then competed in a pageant. Baby King was 10-month-old Braxton Scoggin, the son of Jyna and Matthew Scoggin of Paragould. First alternate was four-month-old Jude Street, the son of Kendra and Jeremy Street of Paragould. Second alternate was Jeremiah Price, the six-month-old son of Madison Price and Eddie Page, Jr of Marmaduke.

Baby Queen was Amelia Rodery, the 11-month-old daughter of John Rodery and Courtney Dunlap of Piggott. First alternate was Avery Garcia, the 11-month-old daughter of Michelle Smock and Don Garcia of Corning, and second alternate was nine-month-old Reinslynn Henson, the daughter of Cord and Chelsea Henson of Marmaduke.

Tiny Mister was 18-month-old Case Brady, the son of Allison Potter and Austin Brady of Marmaduke. First alternate was Ace West, the two-year-old son of Brent and Julie West of Corning.

Paisley Carter was named Tiny Miss. Paisley is the 33-month-old daughter of Zach and Chelsea Carter of Marmaduke. First alternate was 32-month-old Aubree Bagwell, the daughter of Thomas and Carla Bagwell of Piggott, and second alternate was 26-month-old Kennedy Bishop, the daughter of Julia Keffner and Lance Bishop of Jonesboro.

A break in beauty pageants was taken as two talent shows took place. In the youth division 12-year-old Gracie Cook took first place, singing "Your Hands," and Issac Gardner placed second with his karate moves.

In the senior division Rachel Taylor won first by singing and playing her guitar to the tune "House of the Rising Sun."

Second place went to 17-year-olds Luke Atwill and Adrien Reynolds, who sang and played the guitar to "Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop." Third place was won by 14-year-old Erin Newell, who sang "Stitches," and fourth place went to 13-year-old Emma Partridge, who sang "Girl Crush."

The pageants commenced with the Little Miss and Mister pageants.

Little Mister was Bryson Boone, the four-year-old son of Kenneth and Jessica Boone of Marmaduke.

Isabella Underwood, the five-year-old daughter of Trisha Sanders and T.J. Underwood of Marmaduke, was named Little Miss Liberty Bell. First alternate was Maybree Steward, the three-year-old daughter of Kyle and Brooke Steward of Holcomb, and second alternate was Tinsley Breckenridge, the four-year-old daughter of Steve and Pam Breckenridge of Paragould.

The final beauty pageant of the picnic was the Miss Liberty Bell pageant for young women 16-years-old and above. Maggie Couch, the daughter of Wesley and J'Anna Couch of Corning, was named Miss Liberty Bell. First alternate was Paisha Farmer, the daughter of Jason and Julie Farmer of Mountain Home. Second alternate was Mackinah Davis, the daughter of Donnie and Cindy Davis of Corning. Miss Congeniality was Morgan Fuller, the daughter of Jeff and Wanda Fuller of Huntington, Tenn.

Music from Gary Derr and Grant Adams, the Lafe and Marmaduke Baptist Churches and The Stillbillys entertained audiences between pageants with a variety of country and gospel music.

"The picnic was a great community effort and everyone worked well together," Long said. "It's been hard building the picnic back up after the tornado, but it gets better each year. We are hoping to have a carnival next year."

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