News Obits School/Sports Community Opinion

— From beginning to end, the 56th Annual Decatur Barbecue on Aug. 7 was a day of fun and celebration.

The day began with a fun run at 7 a.m., beginning at the Edmiston Ball Fields. More than 20 people participated in the 2K, 5K and 10K races.

For the team of people preparing chicken dinners the day began much earlier.

Following Decatur tradition more than 2,500 chicken dinners were barbecued in Veterans Park. Chicken dinners were sold all day in both Veterans Park and at the Decatur General Store.

Kim Beggs organized the childrenÃ-s games in Veterans Park, with the help of the city pool lifeguards. Children competed in fun events like the three-legged race, toesack race, water balloon toss, and egg and spoon race. There was also a frog jumping contest and a dressed up turtle competition.

The annual parade started at the Old City Park at 2:30 p.m. and made itÃ-s way down Main Street to Veterans Park. The parade featured the antique fire truck and John Deer tractor from the Decatur museum. The First Baptist Church float won first prize in the parade and the Methodist Church float won second prize.

The evening entertainment began with the Miss Decatur Barbecue Pageant and Tiny Tot Contest. Savannah Duncan, of Springdale, and Rowdy Lenley, of Decatur, won Little Miss and Mister Tinytot contests. SavannahÃ-s big sister, Brantly Duncan of Bentonville, was named Miss Decatur Barbecue.

After the pageant, Adam McGee announced the 56th Annual Decatur Barbecue would be dedicated to Ivan Duncan, who was instrumental in starting the Barbecue as a Peterson Farms get-together, and has been very involved with the Barbecue tradition over the years.

Kyla Horton sang the national anthem for the event and was the entertainer for the early show, followed by country singer John Conlee.

ÃEverything went really well,î said chamber of commerce president Royce Johnson, who estimated 5,000 to 6,000 people attended ConleeÃ-s free concert in Veterans Park.

The park was packed with a sea of people that stretched all the way back to the parking area and the ball fields for ConleeÃ-s performance. Conlee entertained the crowd with classics like ÃRose Colored Glasses,î and ÃFriday Night Blues,î and with some of his newer material like ÃThey Also Serve,î written as a tribute to military families and inspired by his sonÃ-s service in Iraq.

After his performance, Conlee signed autographs and meet with his fans.

ÃOverall everything went smoothly,î Johnson said. The chamber will be meeting again in September to begin planning for next yearÃ-s Barbecue.

Community, Pages 11 on 08/12/2009

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