GRAVETTE — The 127th annual Gravette Day on Aug. 8, although an abbreviated event, was an enjoyable day for everyone. After rain earlier in the week, Mother Nature still threatened to rain on their parade. Thunder rumbled off and on all morning, and several floats featured umbrellas to shelter their riders, but only a few raindrops were falling by parade time.
The annual Kiwanis pancake breakfast was canceled this year, but the Gravette Band Boosters offered an alternative meal. Since marching units weren’t permitted in the parade, band members set up shop in CV’s parking lot and sold pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, chips and drinks to raise money for band activities.
Berl Dean and Mary Harris, longtime Gravette residents and owners of Harris Auto Sales, served as parade marshals. They rode near the front of the parade and, with smiles and waves and their usual congeniality, showed they supported the “I Love Gravette” theme.
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The parade began at noon and spectators lined the route as vehicles wound through town. The route was lengthened and traveled through several residential areas so more people could watch from their homes.
Gravette police cars, ambulances and fire trucks led the procession. In place of marching flagbearers, Mike Carnahan, adjutant of the American Legion post, posted the colors on the back of his pickup. Miss Gravette and Miss Teen Gravette contestants rode in the parade, as well as several members of reigning Gravette and area royalty.
Class reunions and family reunions are always a highly anticipated feature of Gravette Day and members of the GHS Class of 1985 and the Class of 1990 rode in the parade. The Payne family, descendants of John and Leota Payne, were celebrating their 40th year in the parade and family members rode in several individual vehicles. They said many members of their large family didn’t attend because of the covid-19 pandemic.
Both Bank of Gravette and Grand Savings Bank had vehicles in the parade, Champions Drywall pulled a sleek fishing boat, and Ozarks Community Hospital had a float featuring colorful balloons and several youngsters. The Gravette Lions Club entry displayed a giant pair of eyeglasses, a signpost detailing several of their projects and a lion waving to the crowd from the back of the float.
A few vehicles from Gravette’s cruise night events, a large concrete truck from Standard Materials Group and a Liberty Utilities truck joined the procession, along with a large troop transport truck painted in camouflage and flying several colorful flags. The calliope from the Scimitar Shrine group provided musical entertainment as it was pulled along.
One of Gravette’s newest businesses, Groomer Has It, won the trophy for the most festive entry in the parade, the Gravette High School cheerleading squad was a winner for best use of theme, and the Gravette Gym won the trophy for best overall entry with its Lucille Ball lookalike and Vitameat theme.
A front porch/door decorating contest was held for persons living within the Gravette city limits. Winners were Chris and Tina Crose, first place and a $150 gift card; Megan McClain, second place and a $100 gift card; and Amanda Hernandez, third place and a $50 gift card. Gift cards were provided by the Bank of Gravette. (See related story.)
The Miss Gravette and Miss Teen Gravette pageants were held, beginning at 2 p.m., at the Civic Center. Kinsley Hurtt was crowned Miss Gravette 2020 and Hayle Vestal was crowned Miss Teen Gravette 2020.
Susan Holland may be reached by email at sholland@nwadg. com .