In July 7 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Editor
Lakefest 2011 has come and gone but the four-day Independence celebration was just as successful as ever, according to longtime Lakefest chair Marcelene Taylor.
The event began last Wednesday with a prayer service and singing and the festivities lasted through Saturday night's free concert by country music group Little Texas and the always entertaining fireworks display.
"We had a lot of work that went into it and I believe it went really well again this year," Taylor said of this year's event. "The Lakefest committee is really good at planning the event and it is a joint effort. It is not anything that I did by myself because we all worked as a good team and I thought everything went great."
She said where the committee might have run into some problems along the way they were able to counter and overcome the small obstacles and the event went on unscathed and without delay.
"I was really pleased with the crowd and the attendance Saturday night and the weather was perfect all day," Taylor said. "I was pleased with the turnout Wednesday night for the community worship service and Thursday night for the lip sync and talent contests and I think the way we divided the beauty pageants up this year went really well also."
Taylor said the committee had a lot of generous donations from the public and to be fully funded she said the celebration needs these types of financial patronages from citizens.
"We were really pleased with that and the support we got from our merchants and from businesses in the county," she said. "Overall, it was just a real success."
Saturday night's performers, Little Texas had a string of number one hits in the mid-90's and was accommodating both on and off the stage, according to Taylor.
"I thought Little Texas was just a great group. They were superb talents and put on a great performance," she said. "They were really friendly people and went out of their way to do anything we asked them to do. They really connect with people and they appreciate their fan base and they showed that by staying late to sign autographs and pose for pictures."
Not only did Little Texas put on a good show, they had some great things to say about the city of Jamestown and the folks they met while here.
"Everyone has been outgoing and sweet and they've served us some great food," said band member Porter Howell. "We loved the way we've been treated while here, it has been great."
Bandmate Dwayne O'Brien said he could envision the group making a return trip to the area if they are ever invited back.
"Absolutely. We heard from past experiences that everyone has a great time and it looked like a great crowd out there," he said. The group performed to an estimated 6,000 plus people for Saturday's show on Monument Square.
"I think the community spirit is what it's all about," Taylor continued on about the event. "It's just people helping people and sharing together, even from the Breakfast in the Park that the Lion's Club puts on every year. I liked the patriotism that we showed," she said. "We're saluting America, the greatest country in the world. We may be going through some tough times now but we've gone through tough times before and God has always brought us through because we are a nation founded on the principles of God, liberty and charity."
Thursday's talent show was won by Matt and Leah Franklin, who performed an original song, in the 14 and up category while Dawson Haydon won in the 7-13 category with his hula hooping to a Toby Mac song. Nikki Williams and Emily Farga won in the 6 and under category with a routine to the Cha Cha Slide Part II.
The lip sync competition was won by Mackenzie Rincon in the 13 and up category while Candace Renee Parson won the 13 and under category.
"We had so much talent in Russell County and everybody was so good that it was hard to come up with winners and that's why we asked other people to come back on Saturday night and perform again and showcase their talent," she said. "The material they picked this year was unique too, we were proud of everyone."
The baby show and beauty pageants also were a success and full results and photos of the pageants can be seen in this Saturday's Russell County News-Register.
Erin McClister was crowned Miss Lakefest on Friday evening with Shelby Stringer being named 1st runner-up while Whitney Grider was 2nd runner-up.
On Saturday morning, around 60 runners participated in the Mike Hill 10K and 5K runs with Matt Hoyes winning the 10K race with a time of 38:43. Karen Cawthon was the first female to cross the line at the 57:28 mark.
Jackie Dennis was the 5K male winner with a time of 27:41 while the female winner was Bethany Simpson with a time of 27:53. Lane Hoyes was the boy's winner in the youth mile while Auburn Bly Butler was the girl winner in that event.
Taylor said she heard from numerous folks about how encouraging the runners were toward each other throughout the race and that the sportsmanship was good all the way around.
The Lakefest Golf Scramble, an 18-hole best ball tournament which helps to fund much of the activities, was held Friday afternoon. The winning team from that event was Eric West, Mark Henry, James Rixon and Greg Shaw.
Saturday's pet show saw best in show go to Freckles the rabbit, the pet of Adda and Isabella Davis and the always popular antique car and tractor shows and parades brought back memories of a simpler time to the many who were involved in the events.
Saturday night's fireworks display, which followed the Little Texas concert, cost in the neighborhood of $4,000 to put on, which were again set off from Jamestown Elementary parking lot.
The celebration also had many vendors, some local and some that traveled long distances to be a part of the celebration, and Taylor was pleased with the efforts they put forth to be a part of the event.
"I'm hoping next year we'll even have more room for additional vendors but we had a variety this year and they were all very nice and friendly with the public too. It was just like they were neighbors and some of them were."
Taylor said she wanted to thank the Lakefest committee, along with the city council of Jamestown and Mayor Terry Lawless for their support of this year's event.
"I also appreciate Laker Country 104.9, WJRS for all that they did to promote us, all the 'Hometown Heroes' that are such a blessing to our community and our county and the Times Journal for taking a lot of pictures and covering the celebration," she said. "I have to say something about the employees of the city of Jamestown as well," she said. "They have worked so hard and always do but they stayed until the wee hours of the morning Sunday cleaning up and they just went out of their way to be helpful to people. Never a cross word or a short word out of anybody and they went out of their way to be hospitable and I just think they are all to be commended."
Hometown Heroes for this year included longtime Fire Chief Glen Holt, city council member George Ralph Garr, Joey Hoover, former Police Chief and manager of Laker Country, WJRS, the primary sponsor of this year's Lakefest, council member and Lakefest committee chair Marcelene Taylor, the late Rufus Shearer who served many years as police officer and police chief, Jeff Hoover, current State Representative and for many years served as Jamestown City Attorney, Dan Woodruff and Jeff Reeder were recognized for their efforts in renovating the memorial and monument on the square and former mayor and Lakefest chair June McGaha.
She sent out special thanks to all the event organizers and committee members but did not want to mention names for fear of leaving someone out and as she pointed out it was a team effort.
She also wished to thank Chief Derek Polston and the Jamestown Police Department as well as the Jamestown Volunteer Fire Department for all their help during the event.
Finally, Taylor said planning for the 2012 Lakefest celebration is already underway and that she encourages anyone wanting to participate on the committee to come take part and attend meetings to get involved.