Freedom Fest organizers announce major changes due to weather

June 23rd, 2015     Tourism

The threat of rain and certainty of heat led organizers of this new festival to make some changes in its production. The festival, which includes local and state candidates stumping during the day and music and fireworks at night, was to take place on the courthouse lawn, but has now been moved to two locations: the Magnolia Civic Center and the Farmers’ Market area down by the Tallahatchie River.

Weather forces a tough decision

With rain forecasted from Friday through Saturday afternoon, organizers felt it would be prudent to take the “First Hand” public speaking events planned for the day (from Noon until 5pm) indoors to the Magnolia Civic Center.

“It was a tough decision because the courthouse is such a pretty location for an event like this, but the possiblity of storms prompted us to take a safer direction,” said Sean Johnson, one of the organizers of the event. “We have many state candidates, including a gubernatorial candidate, Valerie Short, and others traveling here from around the state to speak and even a 20 minute downpour would throw off a schedule that includes over 40 speakers. Having it inside means that everyone will have a chance to speak, and, more inportantly, be heard.”

Daytime changes

The speaking event will begin at Noon, with the Pilot Club ringing the bell at the courthouse. In addition to the speaking during the day, there will be performances between speakers by different local groups including gospel performances, the Upstage group, folk singer Bill Gault and more to serve as breaks in the speaking. As well, candidates and different organizations will have tables set up in the civic center where they will be handing out information and other items.

While rain may preempt childrens activities outside, the National Guard and other first responding services will have vehicles outside the Cine for inspection. Food will also be available on site.

The “First Hand” political speaking will conclude around 5pm with a flag retirement ceremony on the courthouse grounds.

Evening changes

The evening concerts for Freedom Fest will begin a little after 5pm where the Farmers’ Market is held, near the Park Along the River, with concerts by “For Appeal”, an R&B/Jazz group, Kay Bain, a well known local celebrity, “The Grass Skirts”, a bluegrass group from Pontotoc and Sam Mosley and the Muscle Shoals Horns. The evening will conclude with with a professional fireworks show.

“While we are sad that the entire event could not be held on the courthouse lawn, one good thing that we’re getting out of it is a bigger fireworks show,” says Johnson. “Because we’re having the show near the park, we’ll be able to use much larger shells than if we had had the show downtown. We anticipate that this will be a very pretty event.”

To keep up with the goings on of the festival, or for more information, you can check out the Facebook page here:

The festival is being organized by the Union County Republican Women, Union County Democrats and New Albany Tourism.




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