Piggott Celebrates Independence Day

Thursday, July 12, 2018
James Lasswell, son of war hero Alva Lasswell and Navy veteran, served as grand marshal of the parade.
TD photo/Tim Blair

The brave men and women who have served, and are serving, their nation were honored and remembered at the 91st edition of the Piggott Fourth of July Picnic and Homecoming. This year organizers adopted the theme, “The Patriots of Piggott” for the annual parade and celebration, held Wednesday, July 4.

In keeping with the theme, the grand marshal for this year's parade was James Lasswell, son of war hero and former Piggott resident Alva Lasswell. A special recognition ceremony was also held, as Lasswell was remembered for his role as one of the military's top code-breakers in World War II. (see additional story this edition)

For 2018 the annual picnic, which serves as a fundraiser for the Piggott Cemetery, kicked-off Tuesday evening with the first three pageants and an armband promotion on the midway. Barbecue, burgers and drawing tickets were also offered as a good crowd filled the picnic grounds. The first three pageants of the nine planned were also held Tuesday evening, with the remaining held on Wednesday. (Photos and details on the winners may be found on page 10 of this edition.)

Wednesday morning the annual parade lined-up at fire station #1, and led by the grand marshal, made its way along Main Street to the picnic grounds. After the traditional opening fare, the special ceremony with the Lasswell family was held on the stage.

Later in the morning a number of political speakers made their appearances, after riding in the parade at Corning. Those speaking included Clay County Judge Mike Patterson, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, accompanied by his wife Susan, Congressman Rick Crawford, State Senator Blake Johnson, State Rep. Joe Jett, Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson, Second District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington, State Commissioner of Lands John Thurston, who is seeking the job of Secretary of State, Supreme Court candidate David Sterling, Secretary of State candidate Susan Inman, Lt. Governor Tim Griffin, who is seeking re-election, and candidate for State Commissioner of Lands Tommy Land.

“This is great, this is what America on the Fourth of July is all about,” Hutchinson said of his return to the annual picnic.

Late in the morning the pageant schedule resumed, and the kitchen opened for business. Throughout the mid-day hours a good crowd remained in attendance, despite hot and muggy conditions.

During the afternoon break for the carnival, from 2 to 4 p.m., the crowd was entertained with special attractions. The offerings included a show by Rocky Clements, and his Show of Wonder. Later, the popular gospel group Eternal Vision performed to an appreciative crowd. The late afternoon, and early evening, scheduled also included a performance by local favorite Dillan Cate which drew a number of spectators back to the picnic grounds.

The annual Miss Piggott pageant was held Wednesday evening, with Molly Williams serving as the MC and a dozen ladies competing for the crown. Chosen by the judges as Miss Piggott 2018 was PHS grad Hannah Smart, the 18 year old daughter of Wade and Leah Smart of Piggott. First alternate was Raelyn Jones, the 17 year old daughter of Toni and Dennis Etheridge of Paragould. Second alternate was Sydney Risinger, the 18 year old daughter of Tommy and Christie Risinger of Piggott. In addition to her crown, Smart was presented with a $500 check courtesy of Piggott State Bank while second and third were presented with $100 each courtesy of First National Bank, Piggott Banking Center.

In the absence of pageant organizer Vanessa Hartwell, who continues to recover from an automobile accident, Cindy McComb and a group of volunteers handled the chore. Also serving as MCs were Jim Parks and Noah Gregory.

Following the Miss Piggott pageant, the crowd was treated to a bigger-than-average fireworks show. Afterward, the drawings for the three $5,000 cash prizes were held with all three going to local residents. Chosen as the winners were David Wagster of Piggott, David Wells of Rector and Peggy Smart of Piggott.

All proceeds from the annual Piggott Fourth of July Celebration and Homecoming benefit the continued maintenance and upkeep of the Piggott Cemetery.

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