country, cardboard, & fireworks

image borrowed from KATV

A beautiful weekend unfolded in north central Arkansas for the Fourth of July holiday.  The promise of mostly clear skies, hot and steamy weather, and yet another edition of the World Championship Cardboard Boat Races ensured a good time for all involved.

While many delayed their journey until that Friday afternoon, we got a jump on things and made it down Thursday evening.  This offered up the opportunity to squeeze in a little hiking about, visiting with family and friends, and general relaxation, prior to the main event.

It also enabled us to catch a late evening performance at Sandy Beach by a couple of stars from "The Voice."  Cory Jackson and Marybeth Byrd took the stage, aka flatbed semi-trailer, in the parking lot overlooking the beach and a fantastic sunset at 7 pm.

Cory led off with a string of well known tunes mixed in with a few of his own.  He has got a voice that pairs well with the tunes he chose to croon, never missing a beat.  The small crowd was quite engaged and pleased.  It will be interesting to track his success in the coming years.   

Marybeth joined Cory on stage for a few duets at the end of his set, adding a sweet tone to those requiring a woman's touch.  There was a short sound check break after that, and she cranked her set to admiring crowd.  One young man asked to join her on stage to sing, and before we knew it, 5-year-old Cayden was the Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star of the show.

Parting ways, Marybeth continued her set with the usual female country versions of a few popular tunes, and one of her own, about vindictive heartbreak.  She tried her hand a few other tracks normally performed by male singers too, and pulled them off quite well.    Overall, the show was good chill way to kick off the weekend at the lake.

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The crowd turned out early for the races, under mostly clear skies and hot day at Sandy Beach.  A late start on Saturday caused us to miss the beginning of the cardboard boat races,  but only a little.  There were not quite as many entries as on our last visit, nor as much creativity in design.  Nobody really seemed to care though.  Crowded around in the water and on the beach, everyone cheered on their favorites.

As part of a larger celebration  called Freedom Fest, which was going on at the beach, other events stood in between runs.  A watermelon eating contest left some sticky sweet, while others faced off in a cornhole contest. Food trucks supplied ample food and drinks for the crowd, and the cool lake water provided more than enough refreshment.

the youtube above shows off the photos & video in sequence

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Most of the lake crowd took a break in the hottest part of the day, after these events had trailed off.  The ratio of kids to adults dwindled at Sandy Beach, but only until nap time ended.  Then all bets were off.  We spent the afternoon lurking about the shade down in the holler, visiting with friends, swatting at mosquitoes, then headed back in town for the final curtain of the day; fireworks at Dam Site.

Running behind yet again, the objective proved unreachable,  but we found a little spot we thought would be good along the highway.  It had been a good spot before.  Unfortunately, the trees had grown considerably in  four years and further relocation proved necessary.  

A small spot on a dead end street between houses afforded a good view of a Greers Ferry Lake for our crew and other locals that welcomed to us their quiet little spot.  Lit by a veritable trailer flotilla of pontoons, the lake stood as the perfect scene for a fireworks display, reflecting each burst upon the water, captivating an audience of thousands.

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in case you missed the links above

photos from "the voice" live

photos from the world championship cardboard boat races


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