written by Jack West, intern for The Elba Clipper
Before signing the Declaration of Independence in 1776, future-president John Adams wrote that the signing of the Declaration “ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” The City of Elba is doing its best to honor Adams’ wishes and deliver a Fourth of July celebration with all the pomp and parade it can muster. This year’s Let Freedom Ring celebration will be held on the Courthouse Square on July 4. Admission will be free, and everyone is invited. According to Sandy Bynum, director of the Chamber of Commerce, this year’s celebration will be similar to last year’s, if not better. A patriotic parade around downtown will start at 6:30 p.m., after which church bells will be wrung. Then, Mayor Mickey Murdock will give a speech before the National Anthem is sung and the Pledge of Allegiance is said. After that, The Springs, the country-rock duo who performed at last year’s Fourth of July celebration, will play on a stage downtown. Finally, a fireworks display will close out the night. Interspersed amongst all of this will be games, food, contests and face-painting. This year’s main addition will be that kids can use the splash pad by the park while their parents listen to music. “If they want to bring their children to the splash pad, I think that could be a part of the entertainment, or part of the activities that we have not done in the past,” Bynum said. According to Bynum, the appeal of this event is authenticity, safety and community. “We try to do everything the founding fathers set up for people to do on the Fourth of July,” she said. “Last year, I really felt like we were in Mayberry.” (A reference to The Andy Griffith Show’s small-town setting.) In prior years, this celebration has not only given people a chance to celebrate this country’s Declaration of Independence, but also to come together and share as a community. “You just feel safe and comfortable,” Bynum said. “Everybody can sort of feel involved.” That level of involvement goes beyond the people attending the event and includes those performing at it as well. Stewart Halcomb, one-half of The Springs duo, is from Enterprise, Alabama. “I think that is one of the reasons why they do this event for us,” Bynum said. “They can come home and bring their whole band. Normally we can’t even afford them, so, we feel blessed that they come to do this for us.” That being said, the Chamber of Commerce is still looking for potential sponsors and donors. “It doesn’t have to be a lot,” Bynum said. “ Somebody might put in $100, but if you get ten businesses to put in $100, then you’ve got $1,000.” Looking forward, there are not any plans to grow this event, as many of its organizers want it to retain its small-town charm. “We don’t spend a lot to try and make it the biggest thing ever because we want it to keep that little home-town feeling,” Bynum said. Anyone wanting to become a sponsor or volunteer at this event should contact Sandy Bynum at the Elba Chamber of Commerce (call 334-897-3125 or email email@example.com).