Let the State Games begin
READY FOR GAMES Brianna Weiss sits on her father, David's shoulder while waiving an American flag during the concert portion of the opening ceremonies of the State Games of Mississippi at Meridian High School's Ray Stadium on Friday night. Weiss and her father are from Hattiesburg. Photo by Kyle Carter / The Meridian Star.
By Will Bardwell / staff writer
June 19, 2004
The 2004 State Games of Mississippi have begun.
Thousands of athletes and fans packed Ray Stadium on the campus of Meridian High School on Friday for the opening ceremony of the 13th Annual State Games.
The hot, humid weather apparently had little effect on attendance, as spectators came early and nearly filled the east stands of the stadium. The ceremony began as scheduled at 7:30 p.m. and ended shortly after 9 p.m., by which time many fans were already gone.
Local television sportscaster Lindsey Hall served as master of ceremonies and announced the event's theme, which was modeled after the reality show "Survivor."
Hall told the crowd that the State Games athletes were all "survivors in the game of life."
Boy Scouts troop 40 led the parade of athletes, which featured more than 1,000 State Games participants from Biloxi to Corinth.
After the entrance parade, three skydivers parachuted into the stadium and delivered the American flag. Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith then talked to the crowd and praising the athletes.
A half-hour performance by Fade 2 Blue, a rock cover band, followed.
The ceremony concluded as the 2003 State Games athletes of the year, David Carr of Meridian and Lillian Zamora of Quitman, lit the State Games torch. After entering the stadium with torches in hand, Carr and Zamora ran around the track and stood atop an elevated platform, where they lit a cable that spanned the length of the stadium. A flame shot down the cable and into the torch.