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Liberty Fest lights up weekend
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A weekend packed with family fun and entertainment is what awaits visitors as the official first annual Liberty Fest presented by Target comes to Bradwell Park and Sunbury.
The action starts Friday evening with a Taste of Liberty, a car and motorcycle show and dance music from 6-9 p.m. at Bradwell Park. The festival moves Saturday to Sunbury for a day-long festival with food, song, rides, races, and live entertainment ending with a fireworks display.
“Last year, we had a mini Liberty Fest that was a kickoff to showcase little pieces of what a future festival for Liberty County would look like,” Liberty County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kenny Smiley, said. “We realized that almost every community has a signature festival and we realized the need for one of our own here in Liberty County to provide our community with an event that our local citizens could enjoy.”
In 2006, the kick-off event had an estimated 1,000 people show up for the festivities. That was a one-day event and Smiley anticipates more will attend this year’s Liberty Fest that features more food vendors, live performances, activities for the children and fun for every age.
“Last year’s event was only one day had one venue and practically only one food vendor,” Smiley said.
United Way Director Leah Poole said tthere are a few local food vendors and several food vendors coming from the outlying areas of the county this year providingfestival treats such as funnel cakes, barbecue, hamburgers, fried fish and more.
Both Poole and Smiley are hopeful the event will surpass their expectations and provide the opportunity to promote this festival to a point where it attracts tourism and showcase the history, heritage and patriotism of Liberty County and the Historic Liberty Trail.
“Last year, we saw 1,000 participants and that was with very limited advertising. This year, with all the advertising, we don’t know what to expect. We are hoping for a great turnout and if this event grows as quick as we hope, we may outgrow our current venue by this year so we are in dire need and are looking for sites for a permanent home for this festival. It’s going to take a lot of work and collaboration with community partners to help us locate a permanent venue, but it will all be worthwhile if it becomes a successful yearly event,” Smiley said.
To help showcase some of the historic sites that Liberty County has, there will be booths at the festival on Saturday from Dorchester Academy, Fort Morris and Seabrook Village. Fort Morris re-enactments with cannon and musket firing will be demonstrated and the group from Seabrook Village will be dressed in authentic attire from yesteryears and will demonstrate how foods were prepared in the old days.
“Dorchester Academy will bring some artifacts from their museum and showcase those for us. We are excited about having displays like these, especially for the people that come from out of town and may not know anything about the Liberty Trail,” Smiley said.
He and Poole said they appreciate the cooperation, dedication and donations that were made available to the event’s committee to make this festival possible.
“This year, we had a huge marketing package. Cumulus Broadcasting partnered with us and gave us a whole lot of free advertising,” Poole said. “None of this would have been possible without our sponsors. We are grateful that this year we had some people in the community do a whole lot for the event and not just in dollars. For example the Liberty County Development Authority is letting us use their land to park cars and they are not charging us,” Poole said. “Tourism did a whole lot before Sandy White left, city of Flemington, did a lot for us, Cumulus broadcasting, the Coastal Courier, city of Hinesville, Target and just so many others. They all pitched in because they want to see something permanent for this community and they want to see it grow. A lot of the companies provided us with volunteers as well,” Poole said.
Anyone wishing to volunteer can call Poole at 222-4835.
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