Fourth of July celebrated four days later still draws crowds

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 17, 2006

Dedicated Miss-Lou residents braved heat and humidity Saturday evening to party before the big fireworks show started.

The fireworks and celebrations that were rained out on the Fourth of July still drew a crowd Saturday.

On the Vidalia Riverfront, people sat and ate fried alligator and nachos as they listened to bands play.

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Peggy and James King of Ferriday said they enjoy fireworks, but they really came to see the bluegrass gospel band, the Harrigialls.

&8220;We go everywhere we can when they play,&8221; James King said. &8220;We really love them.&8221;

The Kings said their grandchildren liked the band, too, but they were really looking forward to the fireworks.

Jamie Harrison watched her son Jestin jump in the inflated space walk. She said she thought the concert and activities for the children were a great idea.

&8220;We&8217;re going to be here &8216;till after the fireworks,&8221; Harrison said.

The celebration attracted visitors out oftown, too. Members of the United Methodist Women from Coker&8217;s Chapel in Meridian, wearing matching pink shirts, fanned themselves while listening to the concert.

Brenda Smith, one of the women in the group, said they did not know about the celebration until they got to town.

The group takes a trip once a year, Smith said.

&8220;We used to go to the coast, Biloxi and that area,&8221; Smith said, &8220;but since it got messed up, we&8217;ve come here.&8221;

Across the river on the Natchez bluffs, about 250 people were gathering to watch hot dog-eating and watermelon seed-spitting contests before the show began.

Cassandra Christian, 8 years old, won the watermelon seed-spitting contest. Sabrina Woods, also 8 years old, won second place, and 10-year-old Jakeria Brown won third place.

Michael V. Brown came to the bluffs just to enter in the hot dog-eating contest, he said. Even though he didn&8217;t win, the evening was not a loss.

&8220;I got a free meal,&8221; Brown said. &8220;That&8217;s why I entered.&8221;

Jocelyn Henderson and her family came straight from a family reunion, she said.

&8220;We&8217;re finishing the day off here,&8221; Henderson said.

Allyson Pannell, Henderson&8217;s cousin, said she and her cousins had to enter in the watermelon seed-spitting contest.

&8220;We were passing by and saw something going on,&8221; Allyson said. &8220;When we heard about the spitting contest, we had to sign up.&8221;

Sarah Godbold, her husband Chris and their son Aaron had come to see the fireworks when they were originally scheduled Tuesday and were disappointed, she said.

&8220;We waited and waited to see the fireworks,&8221; Godbold said. &8220;Then we heard somebody on a cell phone say it wasn&8217;t going to happen.&8221;

But Godbold, her family, and many others got to watch fireworks over the river Saturday night.

Once it was dark, people lined up all along the bluffs to watch. Fireworks were set off from a barge in the middle of the Mississippi River and paid for by The Isle of Capri.