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A star-spangled evening in the park

The Labor Day holiday for 2002 got a spirited early kick-off as Greenville’s Main Street organization presented its Red, White and Blue Celebration in Confederate Park Thursday night.

The event, originally scheduled for July, had been postponed due to inclement weather.

However, this time around, the sunshine (and, unfortunately, the sticky heat) decided to stay for the occasion.

The typical Alabama summertime humidity certainly didn’t seem to bother the dozens of local kids, from tots to teens, seen energetically decorating bicycles with red, white and blue regalia before joining in a lively parade around the park.

Winners in the bike decorating contest took home trophies for their efforts. Jennifer Grace Arnold, who won the trophy for the five-and-under set, was one of many young amateur models popular with the photographers present.

&uot;Jennifer Grace, give us a REAL smile,&uot; her mom coaxed as the dark-haired tot, her red, white and blue dress perfectly matching her patriotic bike, posed for the camera.

Cold refreshments and snacks were sold with proceeds going to good causes including the Greenville High School Band Boosters and the Greenville Area Arts Council.

Free star-spangled fans also provided welcome relief (and a chance for the ladies present to play old-fashioned southern belle for the evening).

The fans, along with patriotic paper hats, stickers, star-spangled ‘deely-boppers’, temporary tattoos and other all-American freebies were handed out by Main Street members Jill Stallworth, Ann Daughtry, Luci McGowin and others, many of whom were decked out in full patriotic attire.

The kids present also got a chance to paint a quilt square. &uot;All the squares are going to be stitched together into a special patriotic quilt…it’s going to be great,&uot; exclaimed Stallworth.

The Fort Dale Academy cheerleaders presented a special high-energy tribute to the USA during the evening’s festivities.

Main Street Executive Director Nancy Idland also recognized Greenville’s ‘Volunteer of the Year’ Jill Stallworth for her community involvement.

Stallworth and her fellow members of the Susanqua Garden Club spearheaded a project to bring a number of colorful seasonal banners to the streets of the Camellia City, including the patriotic banners currently seen all around town.

&uot;We still have some of these [banners] that are lonesome and need a home…so be sure and see me if you are interested,&uot; said Stallworth with a grin.

Many older folks in attendance brought lawn chairs so they could relax and enjoy the tunes played by Dixieland jazz band ‘Riverfront Ramblers’.

The band, with members from both Selma and Montgomery, serenaded the crowd well into the evening twilight as youngsters lit up the park with brilliant sparklers.

Smoke from the fireworks drifted lazily across the green grass as a toddler, tired but happy, took one last spin down the sidewalk.

The Red, White and Blue Celebration was winding down—a farewell to summer that proved to be one more fun, free and family-oriented event brought to the community by Main Street.