WOOSTER — Hundreds of Faulkner County residents attended the city of Wooster’s annual Independence Day Celebration on Saturday, which included family-friendly games, a tractor pull and a fireworks show.
The annual event kicked off at 4 p.m. Saturday at Wooster City Park. City leaders were concerned about the 2019 festivities after the Arkansas River Flood heavily impacted the area. However, the park “survived and is still standing proud” for residents to be able to enjoy the annual event.
The tractor pull got the crowd ready for the evening activities, which continued until dusk, when Mayor Terry D. Robinson headed the Patriotic Program.
Robinson said the annual celebration was not only a way to bring local families together, but a means to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence “and the birth of the USA as an independent nation.”
As the small-town mayor welcomed the crowd Saturday evening, he talked of the importance behind the Fourth of July holiday. Following his opening remarks, Wooster First Baptist Church Pastor Keith Hicks said a prayer.
The Heber Springs Post 64 Color Guard presented the colors as County Judge Jim Baker led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Hanna Stubbs, a Wooster resident, sang the “National Anthem” before Saturday’s crowd. Rep. Stephen Meeks, Patriotic Hymn Lee Greenwood and Ret. Lt. Col. Eugene Duderstadt also participated in the Patriotic Program.
This portion of the ceremony ended as Van Lamar played taps.
Prior to the Patriotic Program, families gathered and enjoyed carnival eats while their children either enjoyed the park’s amenities or the activities offered for the day including the bounce houses, potato sack races and more.
Throughout the event, the Tonky Honks played live music from the pavilion.
David Garner, the group’s vocalist, helped amp up the crowd as the rest of the crew – Ty Candler, Keith Gresham, Danny Candler, Tommy Lynn Browning, Kelly Sanner and Mike Bowie – jammed.
Resident Todd Patton served his locally-famous meals, and the Wood’s Rodeo Mud Bugs concessions from Damascus were also onsite.
Tracy Fornter, who has attended the annual Wooster Independence Day Celebration for the past 15 years, attended Saturday’s event.
The Wooster woman’s 4-year-old daughter Emma Grace enjoyed the day’s activities, and later placed first for her age division in the potato sack races.
Tracy said she looks forward to the event each year.
Following the event, Mayor Robinson said he was pleased to see such a large crowd attend the celebration.
“It went well,” he said of the annual event. “The attendance was great considering we had to change the date and move it up a week. we had a lot of people parked up on the corner in downtown Wooster to watch the fireworks also.”
Children sat atop the park’s jungle gym and slide as other families filled the pavilion and other portions of the park to watch as the fireworks began to light up the sky at 9:15 p.m.