In June 11 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
Despite the cancellation of Jamestown's annual Lakefest celebration, Russell Countians will still be able to celebrate Independence Day in bulk after the city of Russell Springs unanimously voted to put on celebration of their own this year.
The decision was made at a special called meeting of the Russell Springs City Council last Friday afternoon.
Russell Springs Mayor Hollis DeHart said this week that the foundation for the event is currently being laid.
"Right now we're just trying to get an organization," he said. "We're trying to get several events. Of course, fireworks would be the number one thing."
He did say it would be difficult to find a professional this late in the process to put on a fireworks display.
"Most all of them are already scheduled for somewhere," he said.
Other events he said the celebration hopes to have include inflatable bouncers for children, beauty pageants, music entertainment, a 10-k run, a tricycle parade, a dog show and possibly a carnival.
The celebration is slated to take place in downtown Russell Springs on Main St. on July 3 and 4, according to the mayor.
"We have state permission to close downtown," he said. "It will be closed from Jamestown St., where the stoplight is, to Maple St."
DeHart said the city would be working on a schedule of events this week and will release it to the public when completed.
So far, the mayor said he has been impressed with the number of people willing to volunteer time to put the celebration on.
"Everybody that I've talked to so far has been willing to get in there and work," he said.
While the event has yet to have an official name, DeHart said that one will be chosen in the coming days by a group of volunteers working on the event's planning.
The mayor said most everyone he has spoken to is for putting on the celebration.
"It is going to be a lot of work," he said. "But it is for the community, Russell Springs, Jamestown and Russell County.
He said by the end of this week most of the planning should be in its final stages.
DeHart said that in the future he didn't know if Russell Springs would continue to put on a Independence Day celebration if the city of Jamestown goes back to hosting the longstanding Lakefest celebration.
"We're more concerned with just trying to get this one off the ground," he said.
The mayor said with just three weeks to plan the celebration there may be some bumps in the road.
"Jamestown always puts on a great 4th of July celebration and we understand their problem of space," he said. "We may not be able to do everything that we want to do this year but we'll give it a good try."
He said the city did not originally plan to have an Independence Day celebration, rather a fall festival or Octoberfest-type event.
"I don't know what this has done to that," he said of the fall celebration.
DeHart did say that the merchants on Main St. will have the option of opening their businesses during the two-day celebration.
"If I had a business I would certainly be open," he said.
In last Friday's called council meeting several members of the council said the community was looking for some sort of a celebration for the nation's birthday in light of Lakefest's cancellation.
Members of the council said they'd had people contact them asking that the city hold a event, and some plans and volunteers were mentioned at the meeting.
DeHart gave an approximate cost of around $10,000 to put on the celebration with fireworks. The event will be discussed more in depth at this week's regular meeting of the Russell Springs City Council, slated for Thursday at 6 p.m. at City Hall.