State Games opening ceremonies June 18
By By Erin Hilsabeck / staff writer
June 11, 2004
Resembling the pomp and circumstance of the Olympic Games, nearly 5,000 athletes will parade into Ray Stadium at 7:30 p.m. June 18 with an expected 10,000 people watching.
The 2004 State Games of Mississippi officially began last weekend with three events. But most events will kick off June 18 with the opening ceremonies at Meridian High School's Ray Stadium.
Entering its 13th year, the opening ceremonies are sponsored by Rush Foundation Hospital, said April Luke, executive director of the State Games. The cost to attend the opening ceremonies is $5.
Before the traditional lighting of the torch, each city's group of athletes will march into the stadium carrying their city's flag.
The BellSouth Sportsmen of the Year, Lillian Zamora of Quitman and David Carr of Meridian, will light the torch that will burn throughout the State Games' two weekends.
After a fireworks show, the band Fade 2 Blue of Jackson, will perform.
Among the most popular events beginning next weekend is youth soccer, which starts at 8 a.m. on June 19. Games will be played at the Jaycee Soccer and Northeast Soccer complexes.
Luke said soccer's popularity at the State Games has been on the rise.
Other events include youth and adult softball, which are played at the Sammie Davidson and Northeast Softball complexes. Softball games also begin at 8 a.m. June 19.
Other events next weekend are track and field, stickball and adult basketball. High school baseball, bowling, swimming, adult soccer and seven other events begin June 24.
Within all events and divisions, the top three places earn Olympic-style gold, silver and bronze medals.
Volunteers, numbering 300 to 450, work behind the scenes to make sure the State Games are a success, Luke said.
Luke, who has been executive director of the State Games for five years, said her staff of four puts months of preparation into the events.