Valley Grande will celebrate a day early

Published 10:07 pm Friday, June 24, 2011

By Alison McFerrin

The Selma Times-Journal

Fourth of July celebrations will start a day early in Valley Grande with a July 3 celebration that Mayor Tom Lee said will be bigger and better than ever.

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“This is going to be very similar to what you would see at a larger fair, except on a smaller scale,” Lee said. “In the past we’ve had volunteers that set up little amusement areas … For the most part they were pretty much handmade.

“This year we have actually gone out and acquired professional carnival games.”

Some of the games available will include Skee-Ball, a football toss and a dunking booth, among others.

Another feature of Valley Grande’s celebration will be the rib cook-off, which is open to amateur cooks only.

“The idea is from the professional circuit,” Lee said. “It’s a way to showcase the talent we have out here on the amateur level.”

Entry fee is $20, and registration is open until July 1. The city provides the ribs, and prizes will be awarded — first place is $250.

Preparation for the Independence Day Celebration is almost complete.

“Each year it has grown and this year it is going to be bigger and better,” Councilwoman Donna Downs said. The city has been hosting a celebration since 2005.

The event will kick off with a parade for children to participate in, and it will end with a 9 p.m. fireworks show.

“The little kids have tricycles and little bicycles and things, and they decorate them,” Lee said, adding that children can also walk in the parade, or be pulled in wagons or pushed in strollers by parents. Children must be eight or younger to participate. Awards will be given out for the best patriotic decorations.

There is no entry fee for the event, although most games will cost about 25 cents and there will also be food for sale.

“Any of the profits go to the organizations that are helping us,” Lee said. “It’s a big fundraiser for a lot of these organizations that help us out.” Local church groups and sports teams are sponsoring different games to raise funds for their programs.

Although Downs said she is excited about the cook-off and the fireworks, she thinks the best part is a little simpler.

“To me, I enjoy walking around, fellowshipping with people. I think that’s what it’s about more than anything else.”

The event will take place at the City Park/Walking Trail on Springvalley Road.

To enter the rib cook-off, call Valley Grande City Hall at 872-8104.

Children participating in the parade should arrive by 4:45.