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July Fourth celebration continues Thursday

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Most events are free.

By Calen McKinney

 

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Thousands of people will come to Taylor County this week to celebrate freedom.

Campbellsville/Taylor County's Fourth of July celebration kicked off on Saturday and will continue Thursday and through the weekend.

Darrin Price has led his fellow 20 to 25 committee members in planning this year's celebration - the 39th in Taylor County's history.

"We'll plan year round for this," he said. "We might take August off, but we'll get right in [come] September."

One of the first items on the committee's to do list is to make contact with sponsors. Price said the celebration simply couldn't happen without sponsorships from local businesses and organizations.

After months of preparation, Price said this year's events are ready to go and the forecast is calling for 86-degree weather on Friday.

"Everything is in really good shape," he said. "It's a little scary how everything has been so smooth."

Price said this year's events will feature a concert by Exile on Saturday night, presented by new INFAC, a new Fourth of July sponsor.

Since July 4 falls on a Friday this year, he said, committee members wanted to have some events through the weekend to continue the celebration.

"I can't say that we can do that every year," Price said.

Being a sponsor of the celebration, Price said, is good public relations and a way for businesses to help the community.

Price said it's been estimated that 20,000 people come to Taylor County for its celebration. He said he expects the Exile concert might bring that total to 30,000 or even 35,000.

And, Price said, if 20,000 people came and spent $5 each, the economic impact would be large.

"There's a lot of people that come from out of town," he said. "You know they'll spend more than that. It's a minimum $250,000 impact."

Several communities have cut back on their July Fourth celebration, Price said, while Taylor County's continues to grow. And, he said, it's still known as the unofficial largest Fourth of July celebration in Kentucky. He said many vendors have said that is true.

"We've got a lot of growing industry and a lot of people in the community willing to volunteer," he said.

And Price said the committee's goal is for all events to be free - and they are.

Last year, the community's celebration was postponed and some of it was canceled because of heavy rain. If that happens this year, Price said, events will be rescheduled for Saturday.

The Exile concert - scheduled for 8 p.m. on Saturday on Main Street - will move to the Taylor County High School gymnasium in case of rain.

And, should rain fall around dark Friday night, the fireworks show will be moved to Sunday night.

Price said this year's events will feature many more children's activities. And there are plenty of events for teenagers and adults, too, he said.

"A lot of times it's a social event," Price said. "You see a lot of people you don't see but once or twice a year.

"The one thing I think is neat about the celebration is, there's something for everyone."

Other new events this year include a summer baseball bash on Saturday with a homerun derby and throwing contest.

Price said Jefra Bland, who was a contestant on the past season of "Survivor," will be the grand marshal of this year's parade.

Many political dignitaries come to the celebration, Price said, because of the number of people who attend.

"It's hard to reach that many people," he said.

Confirmed as coming to Taylor County's celebration this year are U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., United States senator candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, Attorney General Jack Conway and Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer.

Those who want to participate in this year's parade need only to show up at Campbellsville Elementary School no later than 9:30 a.m.

While having a celebration is great, Price said, people sometimes forget the real reason for the festivities, celebrating America's independence.

"It's nice that we're having a celebration, but we've got to remember why we are having a celebration," he said.

Price said those who want to attend the celebration committee's meetings are welcome and the group is always searching for new members to pitch in.

The group meets once a month until May and then twice a month leading up to the celebration each July.