Cape, Jackson celebrate Fourth of July

Thursday, July 5, 2012
Jessica Mobley of Jackson climbs out of the pit during the Mud Volleyball Tournament at the Jackson Parks and Recreation department's annual July 4th celebration Wednesday, July 4, in the Jackson City Park. (ADAM VOGLER)

After a nine-year hiatus, Fourth of July mud volleyball was back in Jackson on Wednesday. So were cars, motorcycles, crowds, food and beer for the annual Independence Day celebration at Jackson City Park.

The best part is getting dirty, said Chase Walker of Jackson, a member of the team called This Mud's for You.

"I could never do it before because I was too young," Walker said. "I always watched my sister do it, but I couldn't be involved."

Spectators sit on a car's roof to watch the fireworks display at the USA Veterans July 4 celebration Wednesday, July 4, at Arena Park. (Adam Vogler)

Larry Cunningham, the chairman of Jackson's Fourth of July celebration, said turnout has been low for several years.

"People will come here and stay today because of the mud volleyball and the food," he said. "Volleyball went away for nine years because the beer got out of hand. We had people bringing in coolers."

The city passed an ordinance preventing people from bringing beer into the park, Cunningham said. After the ordinance passed, teams didn't sign up for the volleyball tournament, which eventually was canceled.

Southeast Missourian publisher Jon Rust, left, presents Kent Zickfield the Spirit of America Award. (Adam Vogler)

But this year, the city permitted organizers of the celebration to include a beer garden, Cunningham said. A visible police presence will help keep revelers under control, he said.

Jackson fire chief Jason Mouser, the director of the mud volleyball tournament, said parents of Jackson High School volleyball team members were heavily involved in organizing this year's 40-team tournament. High school team members acted as referees for the games. The tournament was double-elimination, meaning each team had to lose twice to be out of the tournament.

Heidi Pilsner, 26, of team Shake Your Muddy Maker, could be found cleaning mud out of her eyes after her first match. "It was brutal," she said. "But I just wanted to be outside enjoying the weather."

Much of the proceeds from events at the park will help pay for fireworks next year, Cunningham said. Organizers raised $7,400 for this year's fireworks display. The city offered a match of up to $5,000, he said.

"The fireworks vendor told us he's going to give us $15,000 worth of fireworks for $10,000," Cunningham said.

Mouser said teams paid $200 each to compete in this year's volleyball tournament. Much of the money goes toward next year's celebration. Some will go to the high school team, he said.

"On the Fourth, I always thought of mud volleyball and the car show," Walker said.

This year's car, truck and motorcycle show had about 200 entries, show chairman Dave Jackson said.

"We've got some unique trophies and about every kind of entry you could think of," Jackson said.

The award for best car in the show went to Don Leggett, for his black and orange 1936 coupe. The best truck went to Brian Meyer for his 1965 Chevrolet pickup. The best motorcycle went to Kevin Linderman for a 1992 Honda trail bike, Jackson said. The Mayor's Choice award, as chosen by Mayor Barbara Lohr, was red, convertible 1971 Ford Mustang owned by Dean Little.

In Cape Girardeau, the USA Veterans Fourth of July celebration featured the introduction of the Southeast Missourian Spirit of America award winner, fireworks, a demolition derby and washers tournaments.

"We want participation. We want people to feel like they own the event," USA Veterans secretary/treasurer Cathy Ring said. "This year, with the cancellation of other fireworks displays, we may just end up selling out."

The event held at Arena Park had grandstand seating for more than 3,000 people, Ring said.

Calling him "a humble man who has made a huge difference in our community," Southeast Missourian publisher Jon Rust introduced Kent Zickfield as the recipient of the award.

"Stuff just keeps coming up," Zickfield said. "You see a need and you go for it. You get involved, then you get more involved. You don't intentionally set out to do all this stuff."

Zickfield received the award because of his dedication to helping his community, his country and his fellow citizens nearly his entire life.

Zickfield has served in the Missouri National Guard, owns and operates Zickfield's Jewelry and Gifts in downtown Cape Girardeau, is an active member of the Noon Optimist organization and serves on the Old Town Cape board of directors. He spent thousands of hours as a volunteer working for youth activities.

jgamm@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

City Park, Jackson, MO

Arena Park, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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