Expansion Project at Mitchell Cemetery, Greenway Picnic Preview
Thanks to the efforts of several volunteers, a new section of Mitchell Cemetery has been cleared for future use. Recently, a tract just northeast of the oldest section of the cemetery was cleared of small trees and brush allowing the cemetery board to begin to make plans for the eventual sale of plots in the newest addition.
The equipment, and some of the labor, was provided free of charge by Steve Champ, and a number of volunteers also provided manpower. "I don't have anybody buried out here, but a lot of these folks really had a positive influence of my life," Champ said of the volunteer effort.
Champ, with the assistance of his grandson, Alex Gibson, along with local native Richard Petty, began the process of clearing the new plot on Tuesday, July 26. The following day most of the section had been cleared, and several members of the Mitchell Cemetery Association visited the site.
"It won't be long before we will need this area," noted Mike Hill. "Over the years we've tried to look to the future and we've already acquired a 40 acre plot of mostly woods just north of the cemetery."
Also surveying the scene were long-time board members Charles Albert Hollis and Carl Lovelady, along with the newest member, Betsy McHaffey.
"We ran a doe and a couple of fawns out of there when we first started," Champ offered. "And, we also found a couple of old televisions that someone had dumped."
The new section is located due north of the eastern part of the main cemetery, northeast of the crossroads where the large oak tree marks several of the original graves.
Champ provided a skid steer and mulching-grinder for the project, which made short work of the brush and small trees. "I had the grinder, but the machine it was attached to burned a couple of years ago," Champ explained. "This gave me the perfect opportunity to try it out on this new skid steer I recently bought. It did a good job."
The board members offered their thanks to Champ, and the volunteers, and noted they looked forward to seeing the section completed. The work was also done just in time for this Saturday's Greenway Picnic, which benefits the continued upkeep of the Mitchell Cemetery, allowing visitors to survey the improvements.
The 86th annual Greenway Picnic, to benefit the Mitchell Cemetery, is set for this Saturday, Aug. 6, at the community's picnic grounds. This year's picnic will officially kick off at 9 a.m. with the opening ceremonies on the grandstand, and activities will contiue throughout the day. In keeping with tradition, there will be food stands, games, bingo, novelties and rides for the kids. The day also will include a full schedule of live entertainment, with special performances by Patrick Patterson and the Band.
The kitchen will also be open throughout the day, and visitors to the picnic grounds may take advantage of the opportunity to view Greenway School memorabilia, which is on display in the northeast corner of the dining hall.
Following the opening ceremonies, the first of the day's pageants will get underway at 9:30 a.m. with the Baby Greenway contest for boys and girls ages birth through 12 months. The entry fee is $25 and registration will get underway at 9 a.m., 30 minutes prior to the event. Those wanting additional information may contact Sandy Hill at (870) 529-3325.
The next contest is set for 11 a.m. as the toddler contest for boys and girls ages one through three-years-old will be held. Sunday attire will be featured, the entry fee is $25 and registration will begin at 10:30 a.m. prior to the pageant.
Pageants continue at 2 p.m., as the Little Miss Greenway pageant for little girls ages four through eight will be held. Organizers note the proper attire is Sunday dress. The entry fee is $25 and registration will begin at 1:30 p.m.
The schedule for the afternoon also includes the Junior Miss Greenway pageant at 4 p.m. for girls age nine to 12. The attire for this pageant will also be Sunday dress. The entry fee is $25 and is due prior to the start of the event, as registration will begin at 3:30 p.m. Those wanting more information may call Della Jackson at (870) 324-1277 (after 5 p.m.).
The afternoon will also include the annual auction of donated items, which is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. in front of the beauty revue stand. Once again this year the auction will be conducted by Colonel Gary Magee, assisted by Mike Hollis and Kevin Latimer, as items donated by local businesses and individuals go across the block.
The highlight of the evening is set for 8 p.m. the highlias the Miss Greenway pageant is scheduled on the stage. This pageant is open to young ladies ages 13 to 18 and contestants will wear formal pageant wear. The entry fee is $25 for each contestant, there will be no practice and pre-registration is not required. Those who want more information on Toddler, Little Miss and Miss Greenway pageants may contact Barbara Collier at (870) 598-7311.
Following the Miss Greenway pageant, around 10 p.m., the annual drawing will be held featuring both money and prizes.
Traditionally held on the first Saturday in August, the annual Greenway Picnic serves as the primary fundraiser for Mitchell Cemetery, located west of the community.