Suffolk celebrates

Published 8:50 pm Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hundreds of people were on hand Wednesday evening at Constant’s Wharf Park listening to music and enjoying a bit of fun before the Fourth of July fireworks. In town from Chesapeake for the celebration was the Hall family — from left, Mercedes, Mariya, Christina, Steve and Madeleine, along with friend Jaide Draper.

The citizens of Suffolk spent a hot and humid Independence Day celebrating with family and friends at various community events around the city.

She may now live on the other side of the country, but Jeni Cregan was adamant she wouldn’t miss this year’s Crittenden, Eclipse and Hobson Fourth of July parade.

There she was on Eclipse Drive Wednesday, amid a sea of red, white and blue, with husband John Cregan and children, Flynn, 4, and Fern, 1.


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Jeni Cregan grew up in Suffolk, but now lives with her family in Los Angeles.

Red, white and blue, and stars and stripes, were in abundance at the Eclipse parade, particularly on this patriotic float.

“My parents live in Suffolk,” she said. “We came back just for this, because it’s important for my dad.”

“And for America,” John Cregan added.

Many parents lining the road had children taking part for the parade, perhaps on a minibike or a BMX with training wheels, or maybe in a float tossing candy from the back of a pick-up.

Or in the case of Suffolk’s Al and Tisa Chandler’s son, marching with the Nansemond River High School band.

“It’s very important for us all to know our history and how this country began, and to never forget the sacrifices that were made for this country,” Tisa Chandler remarked.

According to Laurel Click, who watched the parade with husband Chris and children Brandon, 3, and Ryan, 15 months, “… it’s an important part of our heritage…”

The parade, sponsored by Ebenezer United Methodist Church and the Crittenden, Eclipse and Hobson Ruritan Club, also featured a bevy of classic cars and trucks, and golf carts, scooters and ATVs, all decked out in the national colors.

One of the floats, an alligator built by the Nierman family – according to 14-year-old Noah Nierman – later participated in the zany raft race on Chuckatuck Creek.

Nierman said his family builds a different float each year.

“The Nierman family builds it, but we all ride in it,” he said, sitting in the alligator-float-raft alongside his siblings and a couple of other kids from the Smith family.

The raft race got underway with a bang at 3 p.m., spectators hanging off the dock at Johnson & Sons Seafood.

It was unclear who actually won, but that didn’t seem to be the point.

“We’ve been coming the past five, six, 10 years,” said Suffolk’s Sue Miller, whose crew of friends included one from Tennessee and another from Long Island, New York.

“It’s just a fun, exciting day,” she continued, before motioning toward a glitzy pleasure craft packed with waterborne spectators, and adding, “I wish we owned that boat!”