Chatom celebrates Independence Day
The town of Chatom hosted an Independence Day celebration at the Chatom Community Center on July 3 complete with water slides, trackless trains, and carnival rides.
One highlight was an abundance of food, including snow cones, grilled corn, funnel cakes, blooming onions, chicken on a stick, fish plates, and loaded fries. Local businesses Sugar Shack and Corral Coffee were represented as well.
Local churches also offered free treats. Tibbie Baptist was giving away popcorn and patriotic novelty trinkets, and Chatom Baptist provided dozens of watermelons.
Ed Shirley, the owner of Fun Time Events Services, has been helping with the Chatom celebration for 15 years. He supplies the carnival rides, water slides, and the colorful fireworks. Another long-time crowd favorite, Cool Rayz, performed throughout the evening.
Fran Thornton, the event coordinator, has worked with Shirley the entire time she has been planning this annual celebration. She coordinates all the vendors and the sponsors.
This year's sponsors were B&F Drugs, Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough, & Howell, P.C., Smart Bank, The First, C & I Package Store, Brett Easterbrook, Total Cray Valley, Millry Communications, Odom & Odom Attorneys at Law, Power South, Ramey’s, Andrews Hardware, Thompson Gas, Burro Borracho, Rookie Automotive, State Farm, GOCO’s, Almeida’s, Pine Belt Wood, Lavish, Chatom Motor Company, Spot for Tots, Wilcox Foundation, Crager Concrete Services, Lewis Pest Control, Washington Co Veterinary Clinic, Southern Class, Circle T LTD., Forest Management, and Alfa Brittany Sikes.
Thornton said, “The participation of these sponsors is essential to the success of the day, and I couldn’t imagine it without them.”
In addition to the organizers, other community members pitched in as well. Dale Singleton and Chief Aaron Carpenter collaborated to ensure that the day was safe and enjoyable for everyone. Wayne Blackwell and the Shriners collected the parking fees for the day and helped by driving everyone up to the festivities in golf carts.
Events specifically for the children included Sunshine the Clown, who comes every year to do balloon art, and temporary tattoos provided by the Washington County High School cheerleaders.
Once the sun set, Heat Wave, a visiting Drum and Bugle Corp from Florida, performed. Next, Mayor Harold Crouch recognized the veterans in the crowd before welcoming the community. This led up to the 25-minute firework display, the highlight of the night for many guests.
The annual Fourth of July celebration, all agreed, is a great day to enjoy time with other citizens in Chatom. Belinda Crouch, wife of Mayor Crouch, said, “We were told by many that it was the best they had ever seen. It was truly an awesome night.”
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