The city of Wooster has been throwing an Independence Day party at Wooster Park for many years now but Saturday night’s celebration was one of the most memorable.
The Wooster area has seen a lot of growth in recent years and it was evident at the event. There were lots and lots of new faces. As County Judge Jim Baker pointed out, "The future of Wooster looks great. Just look at all the young families with children here tonight!"
A new event, lawn tractor pulls, kicked off the activities. The Central Arkansas Mini Pullers (CAMP), a local mini tractor-pulling club from Plumerville, set up at the south end of the park for some fine competitions. A variety of lawnmowers, with names like "Little John" and "Spook," pulled a sled with weights on a 200-feet grass track to see who could pull the furthest. There were several different heats. Competitors ranged in age from 19 to 83.
Midnight Express, a local band, began performing crowd favorites about 6 p.m. The lead singer is Randy Holland, the mayor of Mayflower. Other band members are Cathy Nibling, Jeremy Gueringer, Garland Harris, and Earl Cole. The group is from the Little Rock area and will play at the Conway Senior Citizen Center for their dance on Monday, July 3.
Children could be heard shrieking and laughing at both ends of the park as they played on the slides and swings at one end and in two bouncy houses at the other end. A horseshoe tournament on the east fence was accompanied with metal pings and exclamations as several men competed for bragging rights.
Back at the pavilion, three concession stands provided a variety of food. Todd and Tammy Patton fed the crowd catfish and chicken while funnel cakes were dispensed out of the other concession wagon. A snow cone stand had steady business all night.
At 8:30, Wooster Mayor Terry Don Robinson took the stage and welcomed the crowd. A patriotic program was then conducted. After Lifesong pastor Freddie Mark Wilcox offered a prayer, the National Guard presented the colors. County Judge Jim Baker, Bob Stubbs, a Wooster councilman; Jerry Boyer, local JP; and city attorney, David Hogue all had a part in the ceremony. Van Lamar played Taps to honor the veterans.
Fireworks followed the patriotic program. In addition to the onlookers in the park, crowds of others lined the road and were spread out in nearby pastures to watch the spectacular light show underwritten by multiple community donors.