Inaugural event a success

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Madisonville’s first Independence Day celebration in recent history was by all accounts a huge success, and organizers are already planning something bigger and better for next year.

An estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people attended the free event Monday at Lake Madison, which featured live music from Razz Band, Sabrina Ozio and Wade Phillips and Rock Solid. Kids were entertained by the city’s newly-opened splash pad, a bounce house, face-painting and roping dummy. More than 30 vintage cars were on display, and local food vendors sold snow cones, frozen yogurt, sandwiches, barbecue, tacos, funnel cakes and more.

The highlight of the evening was a massive fireworks display put on by Sky Wonder Pyrotechnics.

“It was a great event,” said Laura Lawrenz, Madisonville’s director of marketing and tourism. “The bands were amazing; the fireworks display was amazing. The weather cooperated, and there were no mosquitoes. I haven’t heard a single negative review.”

Attendees voted for their favorites in the car show, sponsored by Rancho Viejo Car Club, R&M Compression and Lawrenz Family Insurance.

Of 31 entries, the top three were Gary Nunley of Centerville with a 1966 red Chevrolet pick-up truck, Jimmy Bradford of North Zulch with a 1968 white Chevrolet Impala and Leonard Albert of Madisonville with a 1957 red Chevrolet Bellaire.

Lawrenz helped organize the event with Meteor publisher Tony Farkas and city representatives. They plan to meet again soon to discuss changes for next year, such as relocating food vendors to a more central spot and adding a parade.

“We had a good core group of people working on this and so many behind the scenes,” Lawrenz said. “I’ll be speaking with food vendors to get feedback from them. I’ll also speak with our committee members and immediately thereafter we’ll start planning for next year.”

Farkas echoed Lawrenz’ sentiment regarding the event.

“I was very pleased with the way the event turned out,” he said. “Laura’s leadership drove this, and with the help of all our volunteers, donors, and of course, the great residents of Madisonville, this was a resounding success.

“We hope to make it bigger and better next year,” he said.

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