Locals enjoy celebration in Benson’s Singing Grove
A windy Saturday afternoon greeted the crowd assembled in Benson’s Singing Grove for the town’s 15th annual Fourth of July celebration.
After a somewhat overcast week, attendees seemed excited to share the holiday together — several donning patriotic reds, whites and blues, some waving flags and others heading straight for the ice cream vendor.
Benson Parks and Recreation director Matt Smith took to the stage around 3 p.m. to begin the brief opening ceremony, while Pastor Jeff Person with Benson Church of God provided the invocation. Mayor William Massengill followed, extending a “Benson welcome” to everyone.
“I’m glad some people decided to come out and see us despite the weather,” he began, noting the moderate gust.
Mayor Massengill read an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence, emphasizing the importance of its mention of “safety and happiness” for America and its people.
“For our forefathers, safety and happiness were so important they included those words twice,” he said. “I want you all to enjoy the music and have fun today and I want to say God bless the Town of Benson and God bless the USA.”
Local Cub Scout Troop 19 hoisted the flag high above the Singing Grove and led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Mayor Massengill then sang the National Anthem to mark the official beginning to the evening’s festivities.
Soon, the wind seemed to subside, the sun found its way through the clouds and an inflatable slide and bounce castle were set up to the delight of several children as more and more people made their way to the Grove — all anticipating the nighttime fireworks display.
Sybil the Clown was also on hand, twisting up balloon sculptures and painting faces — after just an hour on site, it seemed as if nearly every kid had some kind of patriotic design. A schedule of local talents and a two-hour block of karaoke led the way for The Magic Piper Band at 6 p.m. — filling the downtown with the sounds of rock, pop and, of course, beach music.
After an evening of celebration, it was time for the fireworks, which lit up the sky over the Johnston County town from McLamb-Tart Road, eliciting a number of “oohs,” “ahs” and cheers from the crowd.
Story and photos courtesy The Daily Record.