Riverwalk events go on despite drizzle, clouds

Published 12:43 am Thursday, July 5, 2007

VIDALIA — All-American fun — food, family, music, politicians, even baseball — drew area residents to the Vidalia Riverwalk as they celebrated Independence Day Wednesday.

Overcast skies and occasional sprinkles of rain may have dampened some clothes, but it didn’t seem to dampen the festive atmosphere at the ampitheater.

Children jumped in an inflatable bouncer with Spider-Man mounted on top, ran through an inflatable obstacle course and ate popsicles while adults watched entertainment from several local bands.

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Don Pascal, of Corsicana, Texas, said he came to the area for vacation and decided to see the festivities at the riverfront.

“This is a really good program,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the fireworks.”

Ridgecrest residents Caroline and Ernie Foreman said they’ve come to the Independence Day festivities every year the city has hosted them.

“We like to come out and listen to the music,” Caroline Foreman said. “It’s good, clean fun, and we really enjoy it.”

Vidalia resident Becky Thompson said family — her children and grandchildren were at the event — was what brought her to the riverfront.

“The weather hasn’t been too bad,” she said. “It wasn’t too hot, and we get to enjoy (the performers).”

Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell (D) and Rep. Bobby Jindal (R), both candidates for governor, were slated to speak at the celebration, but neither candidate was able to make it because of previous obligations, campaign spokespersons at the event said.

“What would the Fourth of July be without politicians with a few things to say?” Mayor Hyram Copeland said.

Local tournament-league baseball teams the Vidalia Vipers and the Miss-Lou Mudbugs were at the event raising money.

Both teams are United States Specialty Sports Association baseball teams. The Vipers are for players 17 and younger, and the Mudbugs are for players 10 and younger.

The money raised at the event will be used to buy uniforms and pay entry fees for tournaments, Mudbugs co-coach Garland Randall said.

Vipers player Trey Barnes, 16, of Vidalia, said he likes the USSSA tournament play because he gets to play teams from all over.

“We even got to play a team from Michigan,” he said.

Musical entertainment at the event included Backroads, Ben and Gerald and Rivertown.