The New Albany Community Development staff has put together three days of events marking the 2021 FreedomFest. A variety of activities will lead up to the Saturday night concert and fireworks.
They are referring to the June 24-26 series as the “Spoke ‘n Word” weekend.
“The mission of the Spoke ‘n Word Weekend started as a storytelling and bike riding event,” Director Billye Jean Stroud said. “It has blossomed into a variety of unique activities that occur over an entire weekend.”
“These events are designed to bring locals out to enjoy their community and draw visitors from the region for overnight stays,” she continued. “Our desire is to see folks from near and far enjoying all that New Albany has to offer.”
The weekend kicks off Thursday, June 24, by bringing back a popular event, Unwine’d & Walk downtown and around New Albany.
Unwine’d & Walk is an adult-friendly strolling, shopping, and tasting event that starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 each and must be purchased at the Main Street office, 135 E Bankhead. Call for details 662-534-3438.
Friday will feature the community’s first-ever “Shakespeare in the Park (Along the River).”
Players will present some of the more familiar snippets of Shakespeare’s work interspersed with music and explanation. It will begin at 7 p.m. on the Riverview Stage in the Park Along the River.
More players will be accepted so anyone interested may call the Main Street office at 662-534-3438 for more information. Auditions were May 25 but extra help may be needed.
Saturday will be a full day.
It begins with Pedaling for Hope on the Tanglefoot Trail. The event is a fundraiser for the Regional Rehab Center in Tupelo, which provides a wealth of rehabilitation services at no cost, and for New Albany Main Street.
They will have 25-mile, 50-mile, and 100-kilometer options. The 100K route is optional for participants who want to get off the trail. All riders will receive T-shirts. There will be water and sports drink along the course, and a service vehicle will follow behind. After the ride, they will enjoy food, music, and door prizes.
For More information call the Regional Rehab Center at 662-842-1891 or New Albany Main Street Association at 662-534-3438. You can register online at raceroster.com.
One may register the morning of the ride but may not be guaranteed a T-shirt.
Same-day registration is at 7:30 a.m. with the first ride at 8 a.m. and others following.
Also Saturday, the Union County Library will feature professional storyteller Anne McKee at 10 a.m. Afterward, bikes may be checked out free as usual.
An event that is being brought back from several years ago is Smoke on the Water, a community-friendly cook-off.
Standard cook-off rules will be used. Cooks may enter in the categories of Boston butt, chicken, pork ribs or barbecue sauce. Judging will be on appearance, taste or flavor, tenderness and texture. Entries may be sauced or un-sauced.
Turn-in times start at 4:30 p.m. and cash prizes will be given.
Again, call 662-534-3438 for complete rules and entry information.
There will be a Kid Zone with children’s activities as well.
A sound system will play music throughout the day for those who want to use the park.The climax of the weekend will be a concert followed by fireworks.
Live music will begin at 7 p.m. with Southern Soul and Co. Comprising native New Albanians, the band plays soulful hits of the ’60s, ‘70s and ’80s. Group members are Aaron Golden – vocals, Mary Beth Muncie – vocals, Robert Hall – guitar, Brandon Garrett – drums, Eric Holloway – keyboards, Jamie Shorter – bass, Terrence Strong – guitar, Jesse Martin – saxophone, Emily Coats – saxophone, Adam Davenport – trombone and Andy Hall – trumpet.
Grammy-nominated local musician Sam Mosley with the Mosley and Johnson Band and Muscle Shoals Horns will be the featured act.
“Sam Mosley is dedicated to education and service,” Stroud said. “He is listened to and loved by the community and fans around the world. Sam has been making music for 60 years. Come out and enjoy a night of blues at the Riverview Stage with Sam Mosley and the Muscle Shoals Horns.”
Fireworks on the riverbank will conclude the weekend at 10 p.m.
Up-to-date information will be posted on I Love New Albany and New Albany Main Street social media pages. If you have any questions, please contact the Community Development & Main Street office by calling 662-534-3438 or emailing visitnewalbany.com.
barbecue, FreedomFest, July 4, New Albany, Northeast Mississippi, Pedaling for Hope, Sam Mosley, Southern Soul and Co., Union County