Living Democracy

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.”




August 8, 2022
Commission chair sees progress, challenges
Commission chair sees progress, challenges

Although Bill Albritton admits there are positives and negatives in local politics, he said he enjoys his role overall as he still learns something new every day. Noting that he is particularly proud to serve his home county, Albritton said, “It’s amazing that everywhere you go, there’s a Camden or Wilcox County connection.” 

By Ashby Henry
July 25, 2022
Boyhood exploration of Grampian Hills leads to lifelong passion
Boyhood exploration of Grampian Hills leads to lifelong passion

Camden native Tommy Lawler has explored the woods of Wilcox County since he was a boy. “My daddy would drop me off here before I could drive, and I would explore for hours,” he said. He now owns the land he once explored in an area known as the Grampian Hills, and he often invites others to explore it today.

By Ashby Henry
July 13, 2022
Three historic homes give guests unique experiences
Camden's Bed & Breakfasts offer guests unique experiences

True to Camden’s small-town charm, three local bed and breakfasts offer a welcoming and comfortable experience for all visitors. Liberty Hall, Capell House at Pebble Hill, and Pleasant Ridge all provide memorable experiences for any kind of guest. 

By Ashby Henry
July 5, 2022
Tour of Homes features Wilcox County treasures
Tour of Homes features Wilcox County treasures

The Tour of Homes, an event held in the spring hosted by the Wilcox County Historical Society, features various homes throughout the area. In recent years, the tour has attracted thousands of guests to Wilcox County to enjoy the historic homes and Southern cuisine. 

By Ashby Henry
June 27, 2022
The Gallery in Camden celebrates local artists
The Gallery in Camden celebrates local artists

“The Art of Henrietta Blackmon and Louise McEvoy” art exhibit at The Gallery in downtown Camden at 103 Broad St. opened Thursday, June 16. Hosted by Blackbelt Treasures Cultural Arts Center (BBTCAC), the opening night was a success, with over 70 visitors coming to see the 36 pieces displayed, 18 from each artist. 

By Ashby Henry; Photos contributed by Kristin Law

By Cori Akins
Last Updated: July 10, 2022