BEAR CREEK — Independence Day festivities will not end July 4, in Bear Creek, as the Friendship Festival promises to bring patriotism at its best Saturday, July 8.
Organizers decided to have this year’s Friendship Festival on the Saturday after July 4, to not conflict with Hackleburg’s Neighbor Day Festival, which was held Saturday, July 1.
Everyone is encouraged to come to Twin Forks Park off of County Highway 79 at Bear Creek Lake, where a motorcycle highbar scramble (similar to a poker run) will be held as well as a car show and a barbecue cookoff. A food court, vendors and a dunking booth will be set up at the park, and there will be lots of live entertainment at the stage throughout the day--all building to the headline act, Handshake Promise.
The fireworks show, held after the headline band performs, has been moved to one of the ballfields at the park instead of the island on Bear Creek as in previous years, due to limited visibility, noted Mayor Rob Taylor.
“We’re looking forward to it. We’re hoping it will be a lot bigger and better than it was last year,” Taylor said.
The Friendship Festival, the mayor continued, is a way for the town to give back to the community, providing an event with a variety of entertainment free of charge.
“We’ll have a can or bucket so folks can donate to make it bigger and better next year,” said Taylor. “By no means is anyone required to pay anything.”
Andy Marbutt will be the emcee for the day’s events, which is expected to bring in thousands of people throughout the day.
Preparations for the festival will actually begin Friday, July 7, when vendors can begin setting up at the grassy area beside the pavilion and behind the ball fields, organizers said.
Vendors pay $25 for a 12x12 spot, and can pick up applications at the Bear Creek Municipal Building on Main Street across from the police department and fire station. Vendors can also send a message to the Bear Creek Friendship Festival Facebook page and an application will be emailed to them, said organizers.
The deadline for food vendors was June 29, due to health department regulations, but arts and crafts vendors have until today, July 5 to register, according to organizers.
All vendors must be set up by 9 a.m. Saturday, July 8, so their vehicles will be removed from the vendor area before the highbar scramble and car show begin.
Also on Friday, contestants in the barbecue cookoff will begin cooking in preparation for the event Saturday, Taylor noted.
On Saturday, registration for the car and truck show begins at 8 a.m. The show, sponsored by Christian Street Rodders, will not begin until 11 a.m., when the festival actually begins.
The car show entry fee is $15 per vehicle, with awards given out at 1:30 p.m., including Mayor’s Choice, People’s Choice as well as prizes given away every 15 minutes and a 50/50 drawing.
For more information, contact Sam Heath at 205-269-3663, Edmon Godsey at 205-412-4319 or Randy Oliver at 205-487-1466.
The Motorcycle Highbar Scramble, sponsored by the Town of Bear Creek, will have registration beginning at 9 a.m. at the concession stand area of the ball fields at Twin Forks.
The entry fee is $20 for one rider and $25 for two riders. Kickstands go up at 10 a.m. for the ride.
The cookoff will be ongoing throughout Saturday morning.
Winners of the highbar scramble and the cookoff will be announced between 1:30 and 2 p.m., organizers said.
For more information on the highbar scramble, contact Jason Williams at 205-269-8344.
The festival will also feature a children’s play area.
Live entertainment will begin at 11 a.m. at the stage, which has a large grassy area in front of it with plenty of room for attendees to bring their portable chairs or blankets.
Line-up of performers includes AXSIN, Joseph Baldwin, Mike Jones, Mia Adair, Dustin Busbee, Garrett Hall and John Lindsey, with headliner Handshake Promise taking the stage around 7 p.m.
After the headline act, the public needs to hang around for the spectacular fireworks show. Plans are to double the fireworks show in both attraction and length, according to organizers.
“Hopefully about 30 minutes at least,” said Bear Creek Town Clerk Kay Wigginton.
“I hope we grow from last year,” noted Eugenia Cottongin, who is handling publicity for the festival. “I want to see it bigger and better. There is something for everybody, young and old.”
Taylor thanked all the sponsors, contributors and everyone working behind the scenes in order to make the Friendship Festival possible.
“It’s a group effort by folks, and I think it’s going to be a really good day,” Taylor concluded.
See complete story in the Journal Record.