Ivor celebrates 4th in big way

Published 7:46 am Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Residents, visitors brave heat for patriotic fun




Even though the temperature was in the mid-90s with the humidity almost unbearable and the Nightingale air ambulance was called to duty, preventing it from attending, the first 4th of July celebration in Ivor in more than 20 years far exceeded the expectations of the event organizers.

“We couldn’t have been happier,” said Mayor Tara Kea. “We did have a storm, but that didn’t happen until about 8:30 p.m., so all we had to cancel were the fireworks. But other than that, everything went off as scheduled. And we will have the fireworks at another time.”

The events staff estimated that nearly 1,000 people attended during the day, which started at noon and lasted until nightfall. With attractions spread over the entire municipal center’s grounds, there was no shortage of activities for young and old alike.

The attraction most talked about, however, was the dunking tank in which the mayor was to participate.

Ivor Mayor Tara Kea slides into the dunking tank. — Merle Monahan Tidewater News

“Well, with the weather so hot, it really wasn’t that bad to be dunked,” Kea remarked with a smile.

It was not until afterward, when she had been dunked more times than she could count, that she realized the best pitchers in the Ivor Community Athletic Association of which she is president, had banded together to make sure she spent some time under water.

The mayor, who was the first participant in the tank, was later joined by Tommy Potter and Mark Turner, 2020 candidates for sheriff of Southampton County, and Andy Johnson, who is running for the Southampton County Board of Supervisors.

The brave “dunkees” helped the event take in $300, which will go toward ICA expenses, Kea said.

Town clerk Jaime Power said the caterers served 700 dinners with proceeds going to the Ivor Volunteer Rescue Squad.

“We planned the catered meal as a fundraiser for the rescue squad,” said Power. “This is the squad’s 50th anniversary and we wanted to help celebrate.”

In doing so, Kea paid tribute to the squad and its volunteers in her opening remarks.

Brief rides in a balloon were part of the day’s fun. — Merle Monahan Tidewater News

“We have here today two of the men and the son of the third, now deceased, who made the first call for our new squad in 1969,” she said. Kea then presented plaques to squad members H. Massey Joyner and Merrell Carr Jr. standing in for his father. The third, Tommy McCausley, was not in attendance.

During the opening ceremonies, Tamara Wellons, an Ivor native from Washington, D.C., sang our “National Anthem,” while Scout Troop 17 of Franklin presented the color guard. Then the first of four musical performances, a group of choir members from six area churches, assisted by pianist Felix Lanier of Wakefield, sang patriotic songs.

Other musicians, including George Atkins and friends, Rusty Lowe and the Newsome Family and Silver Street completed the day.

The hot air balloon made its appearance just before the rains came. People were lined up from the ball field back to the main stage just to take a short air ride in the carrier basket of the colorful tethered transport.

“I’ve had a lot of people tell me how much they enjoyed the day,” said Kea. “It was a lot of work, and I want to thank the dozens and dozens of wonderful people who made it possible. But it also was a lot of fun and I hope we’ll be able to do it again next year.”