Portia Holds Its 101st Annual Fourth of July Picnic

JULY 4, 2006 -- POSTED AT 5:15 P.M. CDT

PORTIA, AR -- The Independence Day Portia Picnic is full of history. Right here in Region 8, Lawrence County is home to the oldest, continuous Fourth of July celebration in the state of Arkansas. The year 2006 marks the 101st annual celebration in Portia and as tradition has it, politicians and elected officials made a stop to speak about our country's most celebrated day.

"It's significant on our country's birthday to get together, have family, have friends, but also remember what it's all about and that is that a lot of people paid a price for us to be able to have the freedoms and we celebrate the Fourth of July as a salute to them," says Democrat Candidate for Governor Mike Beebe.

On a day that Americans come together to celebrate our country's history, the people of Portia definitely understand the value of tradition.

"Portia was one of the granddaddies of them all in terms of the original picnic, Fourth of July, political speaking and get togethers," says Beebe.

Longtime Portia Mayor Dale Freman says for the people of Portia, it's more than an Independence Day Celebration; it's a reunion for their small, rural community.

"It's a tradition. This is our 101st year and people come from all around just to meet people they haven't seen in years," says Portia Mayor Dale Freman.

Competing candidates were also in Portia today, but politics put aside, they said they were mostly there to celebrate our nation's freedom.

"In America today we've got plenty to drive us apart, so I think this is a wonderful opportunity for us to come together as communities, come together as a people, come together as a nation and work together for the common good," says U.S. Congressman Marion Berry.

"230 years of our country and we're just rocking along and we need to always remember that. We need to remember our men and women in uniform in our Armed Forces. We need to remember those folks and keep them in our prayers," says Stubby Stumbaugh, who is running for U.S. Congress.

The Portia Picnic is a week long event, starting last Thursday and celebrating all the way to the Fourth.