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story.lead_photo.caption Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS Steve Hall throws candy to kids during the 65th Annual Decatur Barbecue parade which made its way down Main Street in Decatur Aug. 4. Hall was Grand Marshal for this year's parade.

DECATUR -- As the sun rose on another beautiful Northwest Arkansas morning, six runners, ages 13-48, were preparing for the start of the 5K and 10K run which kicked off the 65th Annual Decatur Barbecue at Veterans Park in Decatur.

Fifty-seven minutes later, Daniel Becker, Ty Hoffins and Gretchen Brewer crossed the finish line at Edmiston Park together for a three-way tie in the 10K race. Earlier, Chase Mills crossed the finish line for first place in the 5K, with a time of 22:43. Brent Hopkins, a Decatur firefighter, finished second at 24:43. At 13, the youngest competitor in the 5K, Calybe Sutherland finished at 27:36 to win the 18 and under 5K race.

At 9 a.m. vintage and classic cars and trucks rolled into Veteran Park, taking their places on the frisbee golf course on the hill above the midway. In all, 35 vehicles from beautifully restored Ford pickup trucks to custom Camero and Corvette muscle cars lined the hill.

About three hours earlier, the first chicken halves hit the barbecue pit. A short time later, the Decatur High School cheerleaders and Lady Bulldog basketball teams gathered in the new chicken hut to package beans and assemble the chicken dinners. By 10 a.m, the first dinners crossed the serving window. By day's end, around 1,000 chicken halves were consumed by patrons of the Barbecue.

Formal festivities of the 65th Annual Decatur Barbecue kicked off with the opening ceremony on the stage at Veterans Park. After a stirring prayer by Justin White from the First Baptist Church of Decatur, Alex Savage sang the national anthem. Her beautiful voice gave everyone a sense of pride in this great country.

Mayor Bob Tharp gave the opening address and asked for prayers for former Decatur mayor Bill Montgomery who is battling cancer. Tharp's granddaughter Emilie presented a short history paper on the Decatur Barbecue to give patrons an insight into the early days of the event.

John Huffman was the master of ceremonies for this year's event.

At 1:35 p.m, the sound of sirens filled the air in downtown Decatur, marking the beginning of the Barbecue Parade. Everyone's attention turned to the corner by the Decatur Depot as the first vehicles in the parade came into view. Led by the Decatur police and fire departments, the parade, made up of more than 40 vehicles and two floats, made its way down Main Street.

Steve Hall, a Decatur icon, led the parade as Grand Marshal. Hall is best known as Waving Steve. His gentle humor and waves always brighten the day of all who encounter him.

As the parade was winding down at Veterans Park, another ceremony was taking place. A birthday cake marking the barbecue's 65th year was cut and divided among all. Patrons of the barbecue had their meal and dessert at the same time.

The day concluded with a fabulous fireworks display sponsored by the city of Decatur and McKee Foods. It was a fitting tribute to an event that began as a company gathering sponsored by Lloyd Peterson and the Decatur Chamber of Commerce in 1953.

Kim Wilkins extends a very special thank you to all who supported and volunteered to make the 65th Annual Decatur Barbecue a big success.

General News on 08/08/2018

Print Headline: Barbecue featured fun for everyone

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