Busy weekend set for local towns


This Saturday, there will be a no shortage of fun for area residents in southeastern Newton County. Three different events in Hickory and Chunky will provide fun for runners, children of all ages, gospel bluegrass music fans and those who just want to help others.

The day will start with the Hickory 5k run/walk benefit for Hickory Police officer Matthew Sistrunk at 7:30 a.m. in the town square. The day will continue at Lazy Acres Plantation Chunky with the East Mississippi Cystic Fibrosis 5k at 10 a.m. in honor of Maddie Luke. There will also be a blood drive to honor Sistrunk. The day will continue with the eighth edition of the “We Shall Gather at the River” Chunky River Gospel Bluegrass Singing at the Chunky River Recreation Campground & Trading Post.

Sistrunk was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in July while he was working for the HPD part-time. HPD Chief Mark Spence and Sistrunk’s older sister Jessica Thomas came up with the idea to put on a 5k run/walk to raise funds for his cancer treatments.

“I’m a runner and I have a group of friends and we call ourselves the Hickory track club. So, he decided that we could do a 5k because we have so many runners in Hickory anyway and he thought that would be a great idea to raise some money for Matthew’s cancer treatments,” Thomas said. 

Sistrunk, 28, has to travel every four weeks to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and to Meridian every two weeks for chemotherapy treatment and will begin radiation treatment in January. Sign in and registration will be from 6:30-7:15 a.m. The registration fee costs $25, and the first 50 runners to register will receive a free T-shirt.

For more information, call Spence at 601-934-6918 or Thomas at 601-692-4928, and runners can register the morning of the race.

At Lazy Acres, it will be the third weekend of the farm’s  fall Pumpkin Patch events. Along with the 5k, Saturday will also be Girl Scouts Day, and all of the blood donors will receive free admission to the Lazy Acres in Lights Christmas event later this year.

T-shirts are guaranteed to the first 150 participants for the Cystic Fibrosis 5k, but sizes are not guaranteed. This year’s fundraising goal is to raise $3,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. To register or for more information, visit eastmscf5k.passioncf.org.

After starting out as a biannual event in 2013, with concerts held in June and October, the Chunky River Singing has now become just a fall event. Dewayne Reynolds, who owns the Chunky River Recreation Campground & Trading Post along with his wife Joyce, said the usually rainy weather of spring and early summer made the event too tenuous to be held twice a year. 

“The weather is just so unpredictable on that river. You can spend a month getting things ready and six hours of rain later, you’re underwater,” Reynolds said. “So, in the springtime it’s just kind of hard to feel good about getting things lined up because you never know for sure how things are going to wash out, literally.”

This year’s singing will feature Tyler Carroll and Pineridge Bluegrass, Andy Linton Family and Friends, The Pilgrim Family Bluegrass Band, Beka, Cody, Steve, and Gary and all female comedy troupe Ragger Roos.

“They do what’s called a wash tub comedy skit,” Reynolds said about Ragger Roos. “They normally do a lot of churches and nursing homes, but it’s something that we saw in the Baptist Record and thought we’d add to the concert.”

While the marketplace is no longer held along with the singing, there will still be plenty of food including hamburgers, sausage dogs and bread pudding.

For more information, call the Recreation Campground & Trading Post at 601-480-3045 or visit chunkyriverrecreation.com.