Town taps festive following

Published 2:45 am Sunday, July 4, 2010

Staff Writer

BELHAVEN — A plethora of fire trucks, a pack of antique tractors and even a few motorcycles injected a little horsepower into Belhaven’s annual Fourth of July parade Saturday morning.
The parade, part of the town’s 68th consecutive Independence Day celebration, ran for around 45 minutes past elbow-to-elbow crowds lining Main Street.
Children, and even some adults, scrambled for candy thrown by drivers and passengers in conveyances ranging from sports cars to tractors sans trailers.
“I think it was one of the largest crowds we’ve had on the Fourth of July in many years,” said Mayor Adam O’Neal, who participated in the parade. “And the weather couldn’t have been better.”
According to a program for the town’s festivities, the parade’s grand marshal was Paul Wood, a longtime member of the Belhaven Volunteer Fire Department.
Wood was named Citizen of the Year by the Belhaven Community Chamber of Commerce this year, the program reads.
A slew of elected and hope-to-be elected officials piled into convertibles and other vehicles in a mobile race for votes.
Among the parade riders was state Rep. Arthur Williams, D-Beaufort, who cruised in a car with its top down.
Proving that candy can unite people across party lines, Williams tossed out sweet treats that were picked up by Noel Pinner “Chris” Cayton, who helped man the Beaufort County Republican Party’s tent near the parade route.
Farther back in the procession, Williams’ Republican opponent Bill Cook waved from the rear of a truck, his dog alongside.
Democratic Sheriff Alan Jordan was present, as was his Republican challenger, Donald Dixon.
Other political participants were Darrell Cayton Jr. and Watsi Sutton, who are vying for a judge’s seat in the 2nd Judicial District, and Ashley Woolard, a Republican taking on U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C.
Also present were Republican Beaufort County Commissioners Hood Richardson and Stan Deatherage, who rode together in a top-down car.
Deatherage is seeking re-election, and Richardson, whose term isn’t up this year, is running against state Sen. Marc Basnight, D-Dare.
Later in the lineup were Democratic Commissioners Ed Booth and Robert Cayton. Booth is running for re-election, but Cayton isn’t due for a re-election bout this fall.
Included in the parade were District Attorney Seth Edwards and Clerk of Court Marty Paramore, both of whom are unopposed in their re-election efforts.
Some downtown businesses were closed Saturday, but among those that were open was Wine &Words/The Back Bay Café.
“We’re full house, slam busy,” said James McKelvey, co-owner. “Yesterday was the best day we’ve had this year, so far. We’re having an excellent fourth, and grateful for it.”
Food and novelty items were sold by vendors in front of the John A. Wilkinson Community Center throughout the day.
Among other happenings scheduled to take place Saturday were a mud run, a lawn mower contest and band performances by the Mac &Tammy McRoy Band, Don Cox and Carolina Still.
A fireworks display was set for 9 p.m.
The music continues today with Double Portion on the Wilkinson Center stage from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m. and Carolina Beach Club in the same location from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.