By CHERIL VERNON
The Neches community celebrated its 21st Annual Neches Heritage Day festival Saturday with a parade, arts and crafts, music and free games for kids of all ages.
“The festival turned out really well. We were really pleased with it. Everybody seemed to have a good time and we are looking forward to next year,” Neches Heritage Day committee member Elaine Huddleston said. “The weather couldn’t have been better.”
This year’s grand marshal was Jack Wedgeworth with the Neches Volunteer Fire Department, who rode in an antique Model T car with his sidekick, “Smokey the Bear.”
Theme of the parade was “Safety Starts with ‘S,” But Begins With You” and included a variety of floats, horses and drawn carriages, two- and four-wheeled vehicles, fire trucks and more.
Winning $100 for its first-place float was the Marvin Skeen Community Center. The Yancey Family won $50 for the second-place entry with Top Guns winning $25 for third place.
Carol Keno won first place in the Fourth Annual Cake Bake-Off with her pecan ripple chocolate layer cake. Winning second place was Rhonda Thomas with Mary Overton winning third place.
Charlie Severn was the winner of the drawing for the Savage Arms 308 Winchester with Bushnell Scope.
The Ponderosa Band provided musical entertainment during the festival. The Cherokee Cloggers performed during the afternoon and Dogwood Jamboree’s recent March Talent Search Winner Reagan Starr of Tyler made a special appearance, singing three songs.
“We had a lot of vendors and the kids really enjoyed all of the bounce houses and games — which were free,” Huddleston said.
Palestine Regional Medical Center’s AmBus also was on site during the festival for touring. The AmBus is designed to serve as mass casualty transportation, licensed as a specialty emergency medical services vehicle and is capable of providing advanced medical transportation services during a large scale disaster. It is one of only eight assigned to the State of Texas. The AmBus was recently sent to West following the fertilizer plant explosion.
Serving as the festival chairman for this year’s event was Pat Grounds.