2013 July 4th Freedom Fest draws record crowd
The Village of Goreville celebrated its annual Fourth of July Freedom Fest this past week with organizers reporting a record turnout for all events.
Coming off its postponement of its fireworks display due to drought last year, Goreville packed the park and surrounding areas with an estimated 3,000 people eagerly anticipating the display promoted as “one of the largest” in Southern Illinois’ small towns.
“Everyone has had a lot of great things to say about this year’s Freedom Fest,” said event organizer Jason Beckmann. “The weather cooperated and turnout was up over previous years.”
The day began with the Freedom Fest 5K Freedom Run where more than 100 athletes gathered at Ferne Clyffe State Park before racing back to town. Race coordinator Tara Peas echoed Beckmann’s sentiments saying it was a “perfect” morning for the race and overall participation numbers were up over previous years. Bringing home first place for overall male was Sam Wilson who recorded a time of 19:46.5 with overall female winner Jerrah Stafford not too far behind recording a time of 20:54.7.
Top three racers in each division are as follows:
- Male 12 and under: first-Jarrett Baker with a time of 22:10.2, second-Noel Peas with a time of 27:07.5 and third-Austin Shadowen with a time of 29:39.5.
- Female 12 and under: first-Paetin Arnold with a time of 25:49.4, second-Grace Dotson with a time of 27:35.6 and third-Kiara Miller with a time of 33:06.2.
- Male 13-19: first-Sam Handlos with a time of 22:48.3, second-Joe Bybee with a time of 24:15.9 and third-Alex Andros with a time of 25:50.3.
- Female 13-19: first-Jordan Baker with a time of 23:19.2, second-Madison Arnold with a time of 26:30.6 and third-Alena Cowsert with a time of 3:11.8.
- Male 20-29: first-Caleb Hall with a time of 22:08.0, second-Nick Andros with a time of 25:34.1 and third-Jacob Graff with a time of 36:09.0.
- Female 20-29: first-Mollie Thomas with a time of 24:18.4, second-Ashley Straube with a time of 27:44.3 and third-Jessica Mathenia with a time of 28:05.5.
- Male 30-39: first-Andy Hannon with a time of 21:50.2, second-Jeremy Mathenia with a time of 27:57.2 and third-Tim Baker with a time of 28:57.8.
- Female 30-39: first-Sarah Forby with a time of 21:42.2, second-Lindsay Gamster with a time of 22:41.2 and third-Jessica Sawyer with a time of 26:25.8.
- Male 40-49: first-Phillip Schaefer with a time of 21:29.4, second-Nicholas Pinter with a time of 21:51.8 and third-Jon Baker with a time of 22:17.1.
- Female 40-49: first-Monica Burnett with a time of 29:08.1, second-Kim Grammer with a time of 29:34.8 and third-Evy McKeever with a time of 30:16.8.
- Male 50-59: first-Ed Hoke with a time of 23:25.1, second-Lee Jewett with a time of 24:42.4 and third-Mike Thomas with a time of 26:18.2.
- Female 50-59: first-Sue Kramer with a time of 25:53.6, second-Susan Aud with a time of 32:35.7 and third-Sue Chaney with a time of 32:52.9.
- Male 60-69: first-Michael Ahrens with a time of 23:41.4, second-John Chaney with a time of 27:31.7 and third-Richard Palmer with a time of 30:22.6.
- Female 60-69: first-Judy Panozzo with a time of 35:59.4 and second-Arlene Miksanek with a time of 40:09.1.
The 5K walk and Freedom Fest Fun Run also had increased participation this year over previous year with Tony Mikasanek, Bruce Trummer and Micheal Gholson finishing in the top three for the walk; and Jack Handlow, Grace Dotson and Paetin Arnold finishing in the top three for the fun run.
The Phelps Brothers and the Johnson County Cloggers entertained on Broadway as parade goers lined the streets of downtown Goreville. Organizers said that while there were fewer floats in this year’s parade, the overall community participation was up. The lack of the car show was partially credited for a reduced number of “vintage rides” in the parade. Cedar Rock Cabins won Best of Show and was later awarded a plaque for its continual sponsorship of Freedom Fest at the Red, White and Blue Sponsorship level three years straight.
Shortly after the parade a concert at the Village Park was kicked off with Americana and alternative country music performed by the South of 70 band. Following South of 70 was Goreville native and Nashville recording singer/songwriter Jim Cato and his band performing their own songs as well as popular favorites.
Finishing off with its annual fireworks display, the 2013 Goreville Freedom Fest had many people still excited about it the following week. Event organizers said overall donations were “solid” and that the planning team is already looking ahead to make the event better for next year.