Area wide July 4 activities planned

by Cristin Parker
Photo by MIchelle Dillon
Traci Norton, of T&K Fireworks on U.S. Highway 69 N next to the Cherokee County Electric Cooperative, is stocked and ready to celebrate Independence Day. See page A4 for an updated list of area July 4th events. Photo by MIchelle Dillon
Traci Norton, of T&K Fireworks on U.S. Highway 69 N next to the Cherokee County Electric Cooperative, is stocked and ready to celebrate Independence Day. See page A4 for an updated list of area July 4th events.

State championship BBQ cookoff set for Saturday in Rusk:

Good cause + good food + good friends = good times at the 2019 Texas Hobo Cookoff & Gypsy Jamboree at the KOA in Rusk this weekend.

Sanctioned by the International BBQ Cookers Association (IBCA), the state championship cook off is recognized as a qualifying event by the American Royal BBQ of Kansas City, Mo., as well as the Jack Daniels International Invitational BBQ of Lynchburg, Tenn.

Pit masters from around the country vie against one another in categories including brisket, pork ribs, chicken and even dessert – total payout for winners in first, second and third places, plus Grand Champion and Reserve Champion is $10,500

But Cherokee County residents are the real winners, since total proceeds of the event benefit the local 4-H program and citizens get to judge the dishes coming hot off the pits!

“We’ve actually hosted this event for five years now, but last year’s cook off was called on account of weather,” Cherokee County AgriLife 4-H Agent Willie Arnewine said. “We always have a blast and invite everyone to come out and enjoy some really fine cooking!”

The Texas Hobo Cookoff starts at 6 p.m. Friday, July 5 and lasts through the awards ceremony at 5 p.m., Saturday, July 6, at the Rusk KOA (Kampgrounds Of America), 745 FM 343, in Rusk.

Judging for the Cook’s Choice competition is at 7 p.m. Friday, immediately followed by the Desserts competition at 8 p.m.

“The desserts are really cool,” Arnwine said. “It’s whatever they can cook on the grill. There are some really neat dishes that are so, so good!”

On Saturday, chefs will start competition at 10 a.m. with the Bloody Mary contest; beans at 11 a.m.; chicken at noon; pork spare ribs at 1:30 p.m.; and brisket at 3 p.m.

The Rusk Chamber of Commerce is also sponsoring vendor booths and other concessions providers as well.

Admission into the event is free all weekend.

Cooks are still welcome to register for the event, too. Registration fee is $200. Online registration is required so visit the event’s website, for more information.

Cherokee County is kicking off the Independence Day holiday on Thursday, July 4 and continuing the festivities through the weekend with these other events:

Republican Club hosts annual picnic:

The Cherokee County Republican Club will hold its annual July 4 picnic at noon Thursday, July 4, at Love’s Lookout Park Pavilion, U.S. Hwy 69 N, Jacksonville.

The club will honor the Lone Star Military Group, Julianne Sanford will be the keynote speaker.

CCTRC will furnish all the meat entrees and paper goods. Members and visitors are encouraged to bring a side dish and/or dessert to go with the BBQ brisket.

Everyone is welcome to attend. Call (903) 586-7555 or (903) 683-6870 or email for more information.

Rusk Rotary Club to hold annual July 4 parade:

Come celebrate Independence Day at the Rusk Rotary Club’s 12th annual 4th of July parade, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 4, around the square in downtown Rusk. Grand Marshal is veteran and former County Surveyor Wayne Morgan.

The Gauge Lankford Memorial Fireman’s Competition starts at 10 a.m. on Fifth Street in downtown Rusk. Come cheer on your favorite fire department!

July 4 flotilla to be held on Lake Jacksonville:

Lake Jacksonville Association’s annual July 4 flotilla around Lake Jacksonville starts at 10 a.m., Thursday, July 4. Please join us in your boat or barge/pontoon boat (decorated patriotically and/or festively is encouraged).

It begins near the west end of the dam. Please line up as directed behind the Lake Patrol boat.

Decorated watercraft will be judged and Kathleen Stanfill at Congratulations! is preparing a special trophy to be presented to the winner.

July 4 Fireworks Show to be held at Lake Jacksonville:

Everyone is invited to the Lake Jacksonville Association’s annual July 4 Fireworks Show at Lake Jacksonville. This event is the centerpiece of other July 4 events and activities around the area. The fireworks show is held every July 4 at about 9:15 p.m.

Branded by Christ celebrating with food, fun and fireworks:

Free 4th of July fun, food and fireworks for the whole family. Festivities start at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, July 4, at Branded by Christ Cowboy Church, 5592 Hwy. 110, Rusk. Brought to you by the Cowboy churches of Cherokee County – Branded by Christ Cowboy Church in Rusk, J-C Cowboy Church in Bullard and Trail to Christ Cowboy Church in Jacksonville.

Independence Day dance to be held Friday, July 5 in Rusk:

The Friends of the Rusk Public Library’s monthly dance will have an Independence Day themed dance, on Friday, July 5, at the Rusk Civic Center, 555 Euclid St., Rusk.

Live music will be featured by the Caddo Creek country band, the first Friday of every month at the Rusk Civic Center, 555 Euclid St., Rusk.

Admission is $5 a person. Doors open at 6 p.m. Concessions are available.

110 Riders holding annual trail ride and camp out:

Elm Grove 110 Riders are holding their second annual camp out and trail ride, 5 p.m. to midnight, Friday, July 5.

Contact Austin, (903) 393-6546; Lisa (903) 393-8754; or Kevin, (903) 393-5736.

Lake Striker hosting Independence Day Bash:

Lake Striker Resort is hosting its annual Independence Day Bash, 3-10 p.m. Saturday, July 6 at the resort, 18560 CR 4256 S., Reklaw.

Several music acts will be featured throughout the night, including David Allen, Brad Smallwood and Texas Country Road.

Tickets are available on and will be for sale at the gate, which will open at 3 p.m.

A fireworks show will cap off the evening.