In July 9 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
Russell County's Independence Day Celebration was deemed a "success" by Russell Springs Mayor Hollis DeHart, despite of some rain late Saturday that hindered the evening's free-for-all festivities.
"I believe we had more people show up than we even expected," he said. "It was just super."
The festivities, held at Veteran's Fairgrounds in Russell Springs, got underway last Friday and culminated in a fireworks show on Saturday night, after the rains had diminished.
"We had good attendance all day Saturday and everyone was very cooperative," DeHart said. "I personally want to say 'thank you' everyone who had a hand in putting it together."
The mayor said everyone he had talked to enjoyed the two-day celebration.
"I think the great thing about it was you could come and participate and not have to spend a penny," he said.
"I've talked to the police and we had no problems with the law during the celebration," he said. "Everyone was well-behaved."
He said he believed most of the event's vendors also did well with their food and drink sales.
DeHart said he expected a big crowd Saturday night for the fireworks show but the rain may have kept some people at home.
"But that was the Lord's decision, not ours," he said. He did note that many people parked in various locations around the fairgrounds to view the show.
"I had people tell me they even watched it from their front porch," he said. "That is what it is all about, giving people the opportunity to enjoy themselves."
The mayor said the city was pleased with the entrants in the various events, from the 5K run to the car and tractor displays, to the quilt display, pageants, lip sync and talent contests.
"We couldn't have done this without those that gave donations," DeHart said.
The night ended with music from the Wrangler Band, Rickie Mann, Matt Franklin, who won the talent contest, and others, and comedy from the Moron Brothers.
The celebration was organized the past month by 25-30 county volunteers after the cancellation of Jamestown's longstanding Lakefest celebration in late May.
Planning an event like this on such short notice, DeHart said he was extremely pleased at how the event went down.
The celebration kicked off on July 3 at with the ESPN Radio 1060 golf scramble at Lakewood Country Club with an $800 prize for first place going to Jeremy Wilson, Zach Wilson, Buddy Coe and Jordy Veach. The scramble raised $1,550 for the celebration, according to event planners.
On Sat. July 4, the events began at 8 a.m. with the opening ceremonies, a welcome by Mayor DeHart, the singing of the National Anthem by Wes Bottom and the raising of the flag by the Russell County High School Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.
Then the 5k marathon was up next with Wyatt Self taking the top overall spot with a time of 17:31 while Melissa Kelly was the first woman to cross the finish line with a time of 24:02. The race was sponsored by Jamestown Health Care, Lake Cumberland State Park, Duo County Telephone and Forward Motion.
The children's patriotic parade, pet show, the Luke Burton Memorial Cruise-in featuring Another Level, the fancy car and tractor display as well as the baby show and more pageants followed.
Some of the winners of Saturday's events are as follows: lip sync, up to age six, Allie Burton, lip sync 7-12, Matthew Wheeler, lip sync 13 and up, Shadey Cole, talent show up to age 6, Brooklyn Roller, talent show 7-12 Rikki Michelle Neat, talent show 13 and up, Matt Franklin
Quilt winners: prettiest, Big Dalia owned by Meredith Hopper, most unusual, The Brick owned by Edna Bernard and oldest, Twinkle Twinkle Little owned by Lois Shepherd. In the children's pedal tractor pull, Collin Wesley, Robert Collins, Abbie Loy and Zachary Elmore won in their respective weight classes.
Pet show winners: Most unusual and shortest, Brook Hachey and Carmel, tallest, Rebecca Frost with Abby, Look-a-like, Emily Wesley with Maddy Mae, longest ears, Melissa McFarland and Fred, best costume, Pam Roy and Gizmo, best tail wagger, Joyce Holt and Sparky, best trick, Mary Miller and Emmy and most patriotic, Karen Burton and Harley.
Mayor DeHart said that city leaders hadn't yet discussed about an Independence Day Celebration in 2010 since all efforts had been on getting this one off the ground.
The mayor said a discussion on next year's July 4th possibilities would take place at a later time before anything is finalized.