19th Liberty Day a success – Officials tout festival as most successful ever

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The 19th annual Liberty Day in Columbiana is being hailed as the most successful to date with a total attendance of about 6,000 people.

According to Columbiana City Councilmember Tom Seale, the event went off as scheduled as threatening storm clouds and rain stayed away.

Seale estimated about 1,000 people brought blankets and lawn chairs to the Friday night Main Street Celebration.

On Friday night, visitors to downtown saw firsthand the new sidewalks with brick pavers, street lights and other facilities such as hand rails to help make Main Street a more walker friendly environment.

&uot;Columbiana now has a life after dark,&uot; said Mayor Allan Lowe.

&uot;Residents and business owners spoke and we listened,&uot; he said referring to the downtown renovation.

Lowe expressed the city’s appreciation to members of the Downtown Renovation Committee and members of the City Council, including his wife, Scarlott, who worked with the city council while Mayor Lowe was on active duty with the military in Iraq.

&uot;I am so proud that it’s almost through,&uot; he said to loud applause from the crowd gathered on Friday.

Friday visitors enjoyed food, popcorn, fireworks and musical entertainment that continued from 5:30 p.m. until past 11 p.m, according to Seale.

Musical acts on Friday included Silk E Smooth, Greg Crick, the &uot;Voice of Conway,&uot; and singer/songwriter Jeffrey Steele.

On Saturday, Seale estimated that about 5,000 people took advantage of the 120 vendors spread out across Main Street selling food, drinks, arts and crafts, T-shirts, baskets and more.

Seale also said the number of vendors on hand marked a 20 percent increase over last year’s Liberty Day.

Following the annual Liberty Day Parade, Seale said about 3,000 people made their way to the Shelby County High School football stadium.

There, folks enjoyed a free watermelon picnic sponsored by Piggly Wiggly, entertainment by local dance groups, music by Samantha Lea and Total Assets and the signature Liberty Day fireworks display presented by Alabama Power Company.

&uot;The 19th annual Liberty Day, presented by Regions Bank, in my opinion, was our most successful ever,&uot; Seale said.

Lowe agreed.

&uot;I thought it was an unparalleled success with regard to past Liberty Days. We were very blessed in that the weather held and did not rain us out. I owe that to the number of people who were praying that the rain would hold off until we were finished with our events,&uot; Lowe said.

Lowe said this year’s Liberty Day event was preceded by a downtown renovation celebration Friday night.

And he said of that success: &uot;We had such good comments from those who attended that we are seriously considering expanding our Liberty Day concert next year to include a Friday night of music in addition to the Saturday events and Saturday night program.&uot;

According to Lowe, the total price tag for Friday and Saturday events was a little over $30,000, but a little less than 90 percent of that cost was covered by donations and contribution from local businesses, residents and larger businesses in the county and around the state.

&uot;We would like to tell each one of them how much we appreciate their contribution,&uot; Lowe said.

Lowe also said Saturday night local police, firefighters, volunteers and other agencies from around the county such as rescue and sheriff’s office personnel were honored