The Peabody business community and the Fourth Celebration Society were the big winners at the 90th annual Independence Day extravaganza a week ago.
Record numbers of visitors shopped, ate, and bought fireworks and picnic supplies throughout the day.
Many businesses had their best sales in a year or more.
Rick Turner of Peabody Market said his business was good all weekend.
“The best days were Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “But we were only open on the Fourth from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and we had real good sales then too.”
Lindsey Marshall, who recently purchased the Coneburg Inn and planned to be open between the parade and the fireworks to give people a place to eat and cool off, was taken aback by the number of customers who came in.
“We were sort of caught off guard by the crowds we had,” she said. “It was definitely the best day the restaurant and bar has had in the past year.
“Luckily people were patient and we appreciated that.”
Pam Lamborn at Jackrabbit Hollow had a banner day as well. “I have never had business like this on the Fourth before,” she said. “I was busy all day. Definitely a good day for sales. Hopefully some of the shoppers will come back.”
Longtime patrons of the fireworks show estimated the crowd numbers at three to five-thousand. Lisa Hodges, chairman of the event with her husband Preston, said the celebration society sold out of buttons.
“We had 3,000 and they were all gone shortly after the gates opened,” she said. “We figured we got about another 500 paid admissions after the buttons were gone. And of course, there were dozens of children who were under three and we didn’t charge for them.”
The early evening parade had about three dozen entries, of which three won $600 in prize money donated by local businesses. Judges were out-of-town visitors who had family ties to the community.
Peabody Main Street won first place with a float featuring the Statue of Liberty and children throwing candy and PMSA T-shirts. Peabody Care Center contributed the $300 prize. PMSA donated the money to the Fourth Fest Society to begin funding the 2012 celebration.
Adrian Iten, unicyclist from Switzerland who drew enthusiastic applause from the crowd along the parade route with his unique talent won the $200 second place prize.
Leo Krutz, from Augusta was the third place winner with a motorized train carrying youngsters in the train cars. Krutz’s prize was $100.
The Fourth Annual Bob Phillips Memorial Poker Tournament drew 20 players and raised $400 for a scholarship in Phillips’ name.
The traditional pink T-shirt awarded to the first person out of the tournament was won by former Peabody resident Dwayne Jones. High Hand winner was Brian Harper of Florence. Harper also was the over-all fourth place winner.
Tim Ross of Peabody won third place, Allie Morris of Peabody won second place, and Bob Williamson of Hillsboro won first place. He took home $145 in cash.
“All-in-all we were pleased with the crowds and the success of the events,” Hodges said. “We think having a carnival helped and some of the bigger communities around us having their shows on Saturday and Sunday probably helped as well.
“We’re looking forward to next year and hope everyone will come out again!”