White Hall will celebrate the anniversary of its founding this weekend with an annual bash that draws hundreds into City Park.

Sing, sing, sing

Instead of a concert this year at Founders Day, the White Hall Chamber of Commerce is hosting a talent contest, “White Hall Got Talent Y'all,” that mimics the top-rated summer competition series “America's Got Talent.” The event kicks off at 7 p.m. Saturday at the John Terry Amphitheater.

Jodie Jolly, who is organizing the talent show with Kim Scallion, said their small town version of the competition series will not differ from the national show. Acts from White Hall and surrounding areas will compete for a grand prize of $3,000.

“So far we have singers, pianist, hula hoop, trios and batons. I am still hoping for a comedian and fire breather,” Jolly said. “We want all acts from everywhere — this is a family event for everyone not just White Hall.”

Jolly said she thinks a talent show will help increase the attendance for the Founder's Day Festival because people will show up to support their family members who are performing, versus in years past when they would host a concert at the park and the attendance didn't justify the large amount of money that was spent to put on the show.

Glow Walk

At 8 p.m. Friday, a family fun walk, or “Glow Walk,” will be held at the White Hall City Park in conjunction with Founders Day festivities. A news release said, “Wear your best 'glow attire' to help light up White Hall. The first 250 walkers will receive a glow in the dark necklace or bracelet. Movies in the park will follow the event.”

No registration is required, but participants are encouraged to bring a can or boxed food item for the local food pantry.

Bring a bib

The Fourth Annual “Good Ole Boys” Back Yard BBQ Cook-Off is scheduled for Saturday at 101 Parkway Drive. Setup runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. A cooks meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, and chicken wing turn in runs from 7:30-8 p.m. Friday.

From 11:30 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. on Saturday is chicken turn in time. Rib turn in time is from 12:30-1:05 p.m. Saturday. Dessert turn in is from 11 a.m. to 1:55 p.m. Saturday. People's Choice is from 1:05-3 p.m. Saturday, and the awards ceremony begins at 6 p.m. Entry fee is $125.

For the chicken-wings-only competition, the entry fee is $50. In conjunction, the Second Annual “Good Ole Boys” Last Chance Steak Cook-Off will be held Saturday as well. Steak cooks set up runs from 7-9 a.m. on Saturday, with a cooks meeting scheduled for 9 a.m.

The SCA steak turn in runs from 2:30-3 p.m. The awards ceremony begins at 6 p.m. Steaks will be provided by the organizer, and the steak champion will be invited to compete at the SCA Steak World Championship on Oct. 28 in Fort Worth, Texas. Entry fee is $100.

Prizes for the chicken, ribs and SCA steak cook-offs are: First place, $2,000; second place, $1,000; third place $750; fourth place, $500; fifth place, $300; sixth place, $200; seventh place, $100. Prizes for the chicken wing cook-off are: First place, $750; second place, $250; third place, $100. People's Choice prizes are: First place, $500; second place, $250; third place, $100. Dessert prizes are: First place, $150; second place $100; third place, $50. Best of Show prize is $500.

Details: White Hall Chamber of Commerce (870) 247- 5502.

Parade details

The annual Founders Day parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday. The parade will run along Dollarway Road from the White Hall Post Office and turn toward the City Park. Participants are urged to bring bags of candy to throw from floats.

Details: Joe Spadoni at (870) 543-0587.

Extra syrup, please

The White Hall Noon Lions Club will again sponsor the annual pancake breakfast in conjunction with White Hall Founders Day. The pancake breakfast will be from 7-8:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at White Hall City Hall. Tickets are $8 for adults (all you can eat), $5 for ages 3-10, and free for children under 3. Tickets are available from any member of the White Hall Noon Club or at the door.

City history

According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, in 1913, the Arkansas State Legislature passed Act 164, the General Assembly Road Improvement District 4 Bill, allowing Jefferson County to raise a special tax for the construction of the Dollarway Road, the first concrete road in Arkansas.

On July 14, 1964, White Hall was incorporated, and 24 candidates ran for seven municipal seats.

The first mayor was W. F. “Jack” Moody. Because of the tremendous wartime growth of the Pine Bluff Arsenal — which began construction on December 4, 1941, just three days before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii — and the construction of a multi-million dollar incinerator to destroy World War II toxic agents and nerve gas, White Hall became one of the state's 10 fastest-growing cities. Its median family income was well above average, as indicated by the 2010 census.

With the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR), established in January 1971 and located eight miles north of the White Hall on Arkansas 365 North, White Hall has continued to experience rapid growth and economic development.