Thirty-fourth Liberty Day happening July 24-25

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA — Amid the fallout of COVID-19, in a year when cancellations are more common than events, the city of Columbiana’s Liberty Day still stands.

The 34th annual two-day event is set to take place Friday and Saturday, July 24 and 25. Food trucks will open Friday at 5 p.m., followed by an official welcome at 5:45. Entertainment that evening will include Bailey Ingle at 6 and Lamont Landers Band at 8 p.m.

Saturday will kick off with food trucks opening at 8 a.m., followed by the welcome at 9 alongside the opening of vendor booths, the museum, Shelby County Arts Council Gallery and the annual Car Show, which is expected to be bigger than ever this year. Then at 3 p.m., the annual Liberty Day Parade will take to the streets.

Country music duo Thompson Square will headline the event Saturday night at 8, preceded by Jobe Fortner and several others. The final two acts will take place at Shelby County High School’s stadium, and fireworks will follow at 9:30 p.m.

“People are just hungry and starving for something to do, so as long as we can provide this Liberty Day as entertainment for families and an opportunity to get out and be relatively safe, that’s part of our consideration,” said Columbiana Mayor Stancil Handley. “Liberty Day is a day we came up with years ago to celebrate the liberty we enjoy, and with the turmoil going on throughout our country right now, I think it will be more important to step up and honor the liberty we enjoy and the reasons that we have it.”

Handley continued, “The whole thing has a liberty, ‘I love America’ theme so it’s an opportunity for people to get the chance to get out and socialize and mix with their neighbors. It’s good, clean family fun.”

As a result of Gov. Kay Ivey’s mask mandate, the city will require masks for those in attendance, in addition to other safeguards that were already in place, Handley explained.

“We’ve got our booths laid out to consider social distancing,” he said.

This year’s parade grand marshal will be retired Columbiana Police Chief Lamar Vick. Other activities include the Great American Hotdog Eating Contest at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, and a cornhole tournament. A complete list of activities and the full entertainment lineup, as well as a parking guide and other information, may be found at Cityofcolumbiana.com.

Also, for the first time, Liberty Day will spill over into the new Old Mill Square Park, where the new three-tier Italian fountain is on display.

Said Liberty Day Coordinator Ali Payne, “We are happy to continue the tradition of Liberty Day this year when so much is unsettled. We have taken measures to social distance vendors and activities and will be live streaming the Saturday night event for those who wish to stay home. I want to give credit to Mayor Handley for keeping Columbiana’s Liberty Day Festival a priority in these uncertain times.”