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T-shirt tradition continues

By Rachel Wartian

Staff Writer

Many traditions will look different this year as the community cautiously moves forward in this new normal. Fortunately, there will still be the Chuckatuck Creek Fourth of July T-shirts.

For the past 40 years, the Chuckatuck Creek shirt has been a local tradition. Every year the villages of Crittenden and Eclipse host an annual Fourth of July celebration. It starts with an opening ceremony that leads into the parade and then a raft race. The day ends with fireworks put on by the C.E.&H. Ruritan Club. Everyone attends this event in their shirt that sold out within hours the previous day.

As Virginia starts Phase One in the recovery steps of COVID-19, it leaves the question of whether group events will take place in the months to come. The T-shirts will still be on sale as the officials take time to decide the fate of the event.

“We wanted to make sure that no matter what happens with the actual event, everyone will still have their chance to get a shirt,” said Karla Smith, chairman of Suffolk River Heritage Inc.

The T-shirts will be on sale through June 14, and the expected delivery is between June 30 and July 2 to have them just in time for any socially distant celebrating.

This year’s design was by Caroline Smith, who has been doing the shirts for the past five years. She gave paper cutouts of crabs to children in the community known as “creek kids.” She put the drawings she got back into a design with the names of the children who participated arched above.

Many fundraisers have been canceled this year for the Ruritans, which supports the fireworks, maintains the historic Crittenden Schoolhouse, and helps people in the community in need. Proceeds from this shirt will go to Suffolk River Heritage Foundation and to the C.E.&H. Ruritan Club to help make up for the lost revenue they can usually count on from other fundraisers.

“With all our fundraisers including events and groups of people, it has been hard to raise the money we need with everything going on,” said Smith. “We want to make sure that our community still gets the support they need in these uncertain times.”

The T-shirts can be ordered online at www.customink.com/fundraising/chuckatuckcreek while they last.