Prattville – Prattville’s eighth annual star-spangled Independence Day celebration began with a “family-fun” parade at 9:00 AM at the Autauga County Courthouse. Youngsters and oldsters were treated to Uncle Sam, floats with flags and red, white, and blue décor… golf carts adored with patriotic symbols, clowns, Shriners, children riding in wagons with balloons, go-karts, and fire engines. The Grand marshals for the parade were JT and Leanne of Mix 103.3 FM.
All participants and parade watchers had one thing in mind and that was to celebrate 233 years of freedom from the Kingdom of Great Britain in grand southern style; cardboard boat races, arts and crafts, music, and lots of tasty BBQ.
It is believed that the tradition of southern BBQ began during the Civil War when entire towns would grill pigs to share with all of the soldiers. Grilled whole pigs were in short supply at Pratt Park, but the Lion’s Club Camp Stew and BBQ plates were ready to be devoured by one and all.
Before performing at the Lakeside Sports Grill in Montgomery next weekend, 2 Daze Gone stopped by Pratt Park to play some “Old Time Quality Rock-N-Roll. Folks listened to the good music while browsing the many arts and crafts vendors.
There was everything from homemade purses and jewelry to “Applelicious Apples,” a booth with knick-knacks operated by Steve Graham and Brenda Fabian. “I’m from Heflin, Alabama, and this is the first time I’ve been to Prattville for a July 4th celebration,” Mrs. Fabian said. “Steve actually owns the booth. He used to run a gift shop in Montgomery.”
Mayor Jim Byard Jr. said that he was indeed enjoying the festivities of the day. “It has been great… a great crowd and 2 Days Gone is the band. They will be good. “ When asked if he would be entering the cardboard races, Mayor Byard answered, laughing, “No, I’m not in the cardboard races. I’m just going to watch. But, this is a great day and there are a lot of folks here.”
Raffles were held at different times during the festivities and winners were called to claim their prizes of Alabama and Auburn autographed footballs, autographed jerseys, and free dinners in Prattville restaurants. Prize donors included Fat Boy’s BBQ, Cici’s Pizza, Pratt Pub and Oyster Bar, Coach Reggie Barlow, Bass Pro Shop, Prattville High School Athletics, Russell Do-It Center, Spiller Furniture, and Associated Grocers.
There was quite a large splash at the Prattville City Pool when the cardboard boats shoved off at about 11:00 AM. Prattville’s Department of Leisure Services sponsored the races, and teams were only allowed to work with cardboard and two rolls of duct tape to build their boats.
Each contestant was frantically attempting to put their boat together to ensure that it was the very fastest and sleekest of them all. No one was more “up to his elbows in cardboard” than a man who is interested in becoming an Alabama State Senator. “I think we’re going to win the boat race,” Councilman Ray Boles said, laughing. “I’m going to put my two-year old daughter in the boat with me and we will be sure to win.”
Still to come at Stanley-Jensen Stadium is a patriotic program with the gates opening at 5:00 PM and a fireworks extravaganza at dark. Entertainment provided by DJ Steve Haynes, the Prattville Pops, and the Prattville Community Chorus.
Article by Melissa Parker
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