An­nual down­town pa­rade kicks off 74th Four States Fair

Texarkana Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Greg Bischof

A warm late-sum­mer breeze and a bright, mid-morn­ing sun­shine sent siz­able crowds to down­town Texarkana on Satur­day for the 74th an­nual Four States Fair Pa­rade.

Andi Darby, Towne Square Me­dia events or­ga­nizer has been in the pa­rade 24 times, but this was her first year as grand mar­shal.

“Be­ing in a pa­rade like this just causes you to want to give back to the com­mu­nity,” she said. “This event can be in­for­ma­tional and ed­u­ca­tional, as well as en­ter­tain­ing.”

This was Joni Wright’s 30th year to par­tic­i­pate with stu­dents of her gym­nas­tics, dance and cheer stu­dio.

“We have rid­ers, walk­ers and tum­blers,” Wright said. “There have even been years we’ve done this in the rain and wind.”

About 30 North Heights Ju­nior High cheer­lead­ers and pep squad mem­bers rode a red, white and black bal­loon-laden float on Broad Street and down North State Line Av­enue.

“This pa­rade gives us a chance to dis­play the spirit and en­thu­si­asm that our girls have worked on show­ing through­out this year,” said Christy Kift, a cheer­lead­ing volun-

teer. “They have worked on be­ing both loud and proud.”

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchin­son walked in the pa­rade with Miller County Judge-elect Cathy Har­ri­son. Arkansas-side Mayor Ruth Pen­ney-Bell hitched a ride with the Nashville, Ark.-based Rusty Relics Trac­tor Club.

“I’m al­ready an an­tique,” she said. “Twelve years of pub­lic ser­vice is just about enough for any­one to go through.”

The pro­ces­sion of more than 100 en­tries plod­ded with ease along Broad Street as high school bands, drill teams and cheer­lead­ers shared mu­sic and highs spir­its.

The week­long Four States Fair and Rodeo started in 1944, mak­ing next year its diamond an­niver­sary.

Staff photo by Hunt Mercier

■ Cars, horses and trail­ers filled with peo­ple travel down East Broad Street on Satur­day dur­ing the Four States Fair Pa­rade in down­town Texarkana. The pa­rade kicked off for the Four States Fair, which will run un­til Sept. 23.

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