Fun on the Fourth

Published 7:18 pm Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Suffolk community came together for another year of Fourth of July showmanship on Tuesday.

The annual Fourth of July Celebration in the Crittenden/Eclipse community was held once again by Ebenezer United Methodist Church, with support from the CE&H Ruritan Club. Hundreds showed up for the bake sale, raft race and parade that revelers have come to love after decades of celebrations.

“It’s gotten a little bit bigger each year,” said Marv Carlin, Fourth of July coordinator with the church.

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This was the 41st year of the parade, which began in 1976 with just children on their bicycles.

Parade coordinator Rod Thompson counted five floats, eight classic cars, more than 30 golf carts and more than 40 kids bicycles on Tuesday. All of these were decorated in red, white and blue for the occasion.

“It’s a community of people coming out to celebrate the Fourth together and to celebrate being American,” Thompson said.

Riders in the parade threw out candy for children waiting alongside the streets throughout the community.

“I love it,” said 10-year-old Dakota Carson, who stood beside his family with a lawn chair filled with candy.

The bake sale at the church offered snow cones and other concessions, plus T-shirts. Families sat inside the air-conditioned building and bought lunch and confections. Proceeds from these purchases will go to the church’s upcoming youth mission trip.

Youth minister Connie Schau has participated in this Fourth of July celebration with her family for more than a decade. She said she loves seeing friends and neighbors come together for the event.

“It reminds me how families used to be able to watch after each other and be part of each other’s lives,” she said. “It’s great that they can celebrate for a day and be a community.”

That community enjoyed the annual raft race that saw rafts of all shapes and sizes navigate the waters of Chuckatuck Creek. Suffolk resident Robert Clark has attended the race for more than 30 years.

“I like to see the different rafts,” Clark said. “It’s a tradition for the community. “Every year, you can count on the same people showing up.”

Revelers had the opportunity to relax in the lazy afternoon before things got busy again in the evening. The night’s festivities were to have culminated with a fireworks show put on by the Ruritan Club, but things were still unsure at 6 p.m., as thunderstorms were passing through Suffolk at the time.

“People look forward to it every year,” said Suffolk City Council member Mike Duman, who attended with family, friends and his two dogs Winnie and Teddy. “It’s a second fireworks display for the city of Suffolk, in addition to the city sponsored display at Constant’s Wharf.

The celebration brought together families and friends in the community to celebrate the fourth of July.

“It’s a lot of fun, seeing the community come out,” said 9-year-old Forrest Ward, who rode in the parade with his 16-year-old brother Hunter, and his mother and father, Kit and Jeff. “It’s having fun on the Fourth of July.”