CG Family Fun Days kicks off

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2003

COAL GROVE - Family Fun Days began with patriotism and solemn prayer Tuesday and will end with a spectacular bang Thursday night.

The annual three-day event kicked off Tuesday with a salute by the VFW Post 8850's Honor Guard in front of a crowd of a few hundred people. The opening ceremony featured an invocation by pastor Steve Judson that lead to the honoring of America's veterans.

Dozens of red, white, blue and yellow balloons floated through the clear evening sky as "God Bless America" and "The Star Spangled Banner" echoed across the park.

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The yellow balloons signified the hope that all our troops come home. The red, white and blue were for the troops who have fought for America's freedom, said Frank and Fran Collins, who donated their time and money "just to do something to honor all veterans."

Started in 1976 by the Coal Grove Betterment Club to honor the United States' bicentennial, Family Fun Days continues to offer free family entertainment at Paul Porter Park, 220 Lane Street, in Coal Grove.

Some residents have fond memories of the early days. Les Boggs proudly displayed his first-place ribbons that he earned as a teenager in the 50-yard dash in at the first Fun Days in 1976 and 1977.

The Betterment Club no longer has races because everyone knows he will just win them all. Well, at least that is what Boggs says.

"The older I get, the better I was," he joked.

Musicians with local ties Amanda Hill, Trip Cord, Katy Owens and South of Heaven entertained the crowds.

As always, Fun Days was for the children of the community. They were not disappointed.

"The funest thing to me is playing on the playground," said the talkative D.J. Moore, 8, of Coal Grove. "I get to see some of my friends that I get to see all the time, but I also get to see some that I don't get to see that often."

Children's attractions include the Balloon Man, a bungee run ride, a wall climb and a Jupiter Jump trampoline.

For 11-year-old Tommy McFarland, it was all about action.

"The coolest part is the rides because you get to climb, and run and jump," he said. "My favorite part of the Fourth of July holiday is the fireworks."

Sue Triplett, first-year president of the Betterment Club, said she was having a blast, despite having been in the hot sun putting things together since 7 a.m.

"It is very important to get all of Coal Grove together," she said. "We need to have fellowship and visit our classmates and friends we haven't seen in awhile."

Though everything was going well and

all the volunteers have been tremendous, Triplett said she hopes to instill the values of the event to the area youth.

"We really wish we could get the younger people involved," she said. "We want them to carry on the tradition to make Coal Grove a family."

Craig Haney of Coal Grove will headline Wednesday's musical entertainment.

Lee McCormack will perform from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday. Always popular, the village's fireworks display will close the event at 10 p.m.