Four-year-old Keiyon Smith's broad grin just below his Batman mask attested to the good time he was having as he waited his turn to take part in the tractor pull. "And I won a trophy!" exclaimed Keiyon, who was honored as "most heroic" in the costume parade.
The first Arts and Crafts and Family Fun Festival was a success bringing smiles from children and their parents and even bigger grins from the event's sponsor, the newly organized New Madrid County Lions Club.
"It's a great day," said Katherine Stanley, who was wearing a white apron adorned with the Lions Club logo as she worked in the club's food stand Saturday afternoon.
The club's Charter night, officially making them members of Lions International, is set for Nov. 19. However, club president Donnie Brown, Stanley and the other members are already busy organizing and planning activities.
"We felt there was a need in the community for a good service organization to help with charities," said Brown. He pointed out New Madrid and the other area towns had service clubs which folded and the county's younger residents didn't seem to be filling in the resulting gap.
But when talk began about forming a Lions Club, Brown said there was a real interest among a variety of residents. "The Lions Club's main motto is 'We Serve' and that is what we want to be - when there is a need we want to be that group which gets out there and serves our community," he said.
In talking with members of the Sikeston Lions Club, which is sponsoring the organization of the New Madrid County group, Brown said he was impressed with the variety of services they provided.
"There are things they do nationally and a lot things they do locally," he said. "The thing we like about the Lions Club is that most of the money stays right in the community. It is the discretion of club members how to use it."
Also the focus on children appealed to the organizing club, he added.
That is what prompted Martha Henderson to join and volunteer as treasurer of the group.
Activities, such as Saturday's Fall Festival with games and contests, are enjoyed by youngsters, she said. "We want to bring fellowship back to this community, to help the kids have hope, fun and things to do," she said.
More activities are being planned by the new organization's 31 members. Henderson said there is talk of hosting a car show in the spring, working with New Madrid's outdoor festival again and again sponsoring the fall festival.
Also she sees the club as meeting community needs that aren't filled by government programs or other resources.
"There are people who really need help and can't get it. There has to be some way for your community to help them," Henderson said. "I feel like this is really a good cause and a way to help if we can get more community involvement."
The local club is open to anyone from New Madrid County. The group has drawn members from New Madrid, Kewanee, Laforge and other area towns.
Harry Gremore, who is heading up the new club's Membership Committee, said efforts are off to a good start but recruitment is continuing. He noted that those signing up prior to Nov. 19's charter night will be considered charter members.
His decision to join was easy, Gremore said. "I knew about Lions. I knew about their reputation and the good work they have done. It was a no-brainer for me to join."
The requirements for membership are simple, he continued. "You need to be community-oriented," Gremore said. "We are here to benefit the local area."
Those interested in joining the New Madrid County Lions Club can attend one of the club's meeting. Currently the group meets at 6 p.m. the first and third Tuesday of the month at City Hall.
For more information about the club or membership contact Brown at 748