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Club planning big celebration

The Boys and Girls Club of Paris is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and club officials and supporters are planning a two-day celebration in June to mark the event.

The two-day event will take place June 7 and 8, according to the club’s Executive Director Cheri Garcez. Work on the event began in December.

“We’re still working on plans,” she said last week. “We’re still getting volunteers and supplies together.”

The club will be closed the week of June 1-6 in order to prepare for the celebration.

On Saturday, June 6, the club will host an open house from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. The club, located at the intersection of Fifth and Wood streets, will also be a stopping point for a poker run being hosted by the Shepherds of Mount Magazine chapter of the Christian Motorcycle Association.

A number of activities will take place the same day at Veterans Park in Paris. The park will host t-ball games, a traveling BB gun shooting range, a dunk tank, a Army National Guard climbing wall and a cookout of hamburgers and hot dogs and the meal is free of charge. The city’s swimming pool will also be open for free swimming that day.

Billy Higgins, the son of Clarence Higgins, who helped Paris start the club, will make an appearance at Veterans Park during the Saturday events, Garcez said. Billy Higgins is now a professor at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.

That evening, a Beatles tribute band from Waco, Tex. will perform a concert at the Paris Middle School auditorium. The doors will open at 6 p.m. and the concert will begin at 6:30 p.m.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first tour of the United States.

Tickets for the event will be $10 and will go on sale at various locations in Paris soon, Garcez said.

One of the members of the tribute band grew up in a Boys and Girls Club, Garcez said.

“He’ll talk about his experiences and the impact the club has on the community,” Garcez said.

On Sunday, the club’s Alumni Association will host its annual golf tournament at Little Creek Golf Club. The event will be a four-person scramble.

The Boys and Girls Club of Paris was started on Nov. 30, 1964 as an extension of the club in Fort Smith, the first arraignment of its kind in the nation.

For more information about the club’s 50th anniversary celebration, call 963-3577.

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