Food, family and fun
KENOVA — An evening storm wasn't enough to dampen the spirits of people celebrating the Fourth of July on Thursday evening in two Wayne County communities.
For the second year in a row, the start of Ceredo Freedomfest at Paul T. Billups Park was met with a downpour, but organizers were able to keep the show going, which, unfortunately, was not the case in Kenova, where a rededication ceremony for the Kenova War Memorial Fountain was called off when the rain proved to be too much.
The storm made its way to the Tri-State just after 6:30 p.m., shortly before Christian rock band Render the Hearts was set to take to the stage at Freedomfest and half an hour before the rededication ceremony, featuring the C-K Alumni Band, was to begin in Kenova Towne Square.
Freedomfest will continue Friday, July 5, and Saturday, July 6, and organizers expect to have more success with better weather, said Kathryn Morrow, president of River Cities Events, which hosted the festival.
"We just want to have a place for people in Ceredo to come out and enjoy themselves," said Morrow. "There isn't a lot to do here on the Fourth of July, so we just wanted to give families a nice place to come to.
"It seems to be working out because there are kids really enjoying themselves playing in this rain."
Freedomfest will kick off again at 6 p.m. Friday with 70s Nite, which will feature performances from The Jeremy Walters band followed by Alias. Saturday evening at the festival is Country Night, and performances by Robert Trippett and the Starlight Band, Marley and Rob McNurlin and his Beatnik Cowboy band will begin at 5 p.m.
It was unclear Thursday evening as to whether or not organizers had plans to reschedule the memorial rededication ceremony in Kenova.
Mayor Ric Griffith said the decision to press on with the event came down to the last minute.
"You know, we had to make a call at 4 o'clock to decide if we were going to move it inside or not," said Griffith. "At that time, it looked like the storm was going to pass us on the radar, so we set it up."
Griffith and members of the C-K Alumni Band and about a dozen bystanders stood in the gazebo in Kenova Towne Square waiting for the storm to break until about 7:10 p.m. before he called off the event.
The ceremony was to commemorate the completion of repairs and improvements to the town square.
The city began the effort to repair the War Memorial Fountain and the gazebo in town square two years ago, and through city and private donations, the gazebo was refurbished, wood was replaced on park benches and a new stone bench was installed on the grounds.
The fountain itself was refitted and crowned with a lighted bronze eagle.
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