RECTOR, AR (KAIT) – After strong storms this weekend, hundreds welcomed the sunshine and warm temperatures at the Labor Day picnic in Rector.
People packed into Rector Memorial Park on Monday to sample some food or hop on a ride for a worthy cause. All the event's proceeds go toward the upkeep of the Woodland Heights Cemetery.
"You can't believe how many local people make this all possible," Danny Ford said. "They all come together and there's barbecue stands, hamburger stands, and I don't know how many people will show up for Labor Day weekend. But, it's amazing in a small like Rector how all this happens."
Ford has presided as the picnic's master of ceremonies for a number of years. The schedule of events has always included a time slot for local politicians stumping for office.
" It's been a platform for our local politicians to come in and give their point-of-view and just to meet and greet," said Nathan Henderson, this year's picnic chairman, "because there's a lot of people that come into Rector, not just Rector people.
"It's a regional event," he added. "We get people from Piggott, Corning, Paragould and then of course all the people that travel in."
After several political speeches, Rep. Rick Crawford took the stage before his Democratic challenger, prosecuting attorney Scott Ellington.
Crawford skipped the Republican National Convention last week to tour his district, which he says needs to be more of a priority than national politics.
"My vision is to empower the free market," he said, "to keep taxes low, to keep regulatory burdens low and cost compliance low and to really empower the private sector. That's how we start to see jobs grow."
On the eve of the Democrats' turn in the spotlight, Ellington distanced himself from President Obama. He added that he is more willing to work across party lines than his opponent, whom he argues simply follows rank.
"I'm an advocate," he said. "I want to go and work hard and make changes in Washington and represent the people of this district as my clients, as people who sent me there on their behalf to stand up and fight for them."
In addition to the money raised, the picnic hopefully provided a platform to connect to voters 64 days from the election.