By CHERIL VERNON
The Neches community will celebrate its 21st Annual Neches Heritage Day festival on Saturday with a parade, arts and crafts, music and free games for kids of all ages.
“This will be a good time to get reacquainted with friends and family,” Neches Heritage Day committee member Elaine Huddleston said. “The festival is in full swing and we are planning a big day for everybody.”
This year's Grand Marshal will be Jack Wedgeworth with the Neches Volunteer Fire Department and his sidekick “Smokey the Bear.”
Theme for this year is “Safety Starts with ‘S,” But Begins With You.”
The parade line-up will begin at 9:30 a.m. on FM 2574 at the Neches city limits sign. It will travel through Neches and end at the Marvin Skeen Community Center on FM 19 adjacent to Neches Elementary School. Decorated floats, all types of cars, two and four wheeled vehicles, horses and drawn carriages will fill the parade. The three best floats will receive prizes of $100, $50, and $25, respectively.
The festival, which will be held rain or shine from 10:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Community Center, will begin with the National Anthem, invocation and recognition of veterans, announcements, winners of the parade floats and grand marshal trophies. A large covered tent will provide shade, seating and protection from the weather.
“This is a family-oriented event with activities for all ages and would be a good time for family reunions,” Huddleston said.
Free children’s games and activities will include an obstacle course, bounce house and more. The Ponderosa Band will provide musical entertainment during the festival.
The Cherokee Cloggers will perform at 1:30 p.m.
At 2 p.m., Dogwood Jamboree’s recent March Talent Search Winner Reagan Starr of Tyler will perform.
“I’ve heard Reagan sing and he’s excellent,” Huddleston said.
An informational history booth will be set up and will have local cemetery records to answer all pertinent questions related to the history of your relatives.
The 4th Annual Cake Bake-Off also will be held. Entries will be judged on presentation, appearance and taste.
The Heritage Day Committee will take donations for a chance to win a Savage Arms 308 Winchester with Bushnell Scope. Tickets are $1 or six for $5. Tickets will be sold at Van’s Country Store or from committee members and at festival grounds. The drawing will be held at 3 p.m.
For any additional information about the festivals call Pat Grounds at 832-266-7306 or Huddleston at 903-724-4698 or 903-584-3210.