Preparations are well under way for the Leitchfield Freedom Fest 2012, which touts itself as “Grayson County’s oldest and largest celebration that is completely free to the public” on it’s informative website, www.leitchfieldfreedomfest.com.
The events, which will be held Friday July 13, through Sunday, July 15, include a firework show, carnival rides, live music, inflatable performances, crafts, a car show, athletic events and pageants, among other things, and are completely free to the public, according to Leitchfield City Tourism Director Ilsa Johnson.
Friday’s kick-off events include the 3rd annual Rod Run beginning at 6 p.m. at the Centre on Main with a free community cookout and a city-wide cruise; as well as the FreedomFest Pageant beginning at 6 p.m. in the Grayson County Middle School auditorium.
Also on Friday is the beginning of the co-ed softball tournament, which will conclude on Saturday. The tournament is held at the baseball field behind the middle school.
Festival-goers can start off their day on Saturday at the fire station on Main Street as early as 6 a.m. with a hearty pancake breakfast, the proceeds of which go to the WHAS Crusade for Children.
The 5K Freedom Run, hosted by the UK Extension Office, begins at the Ronald Hudson Fire Department with registration from 7 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. The entry fee for the walk/run is $15 for adults and $10 for children under 13.
Also opening at 7 a.m. is the Martial Arts Tournament held at the middle school. A series of martial arts events are held, with competitors heading into the rings at about 9:30 a.m.
Registration begins at 9 a.m. for two events benefiting Grayson County Special Olympics. First, the Freedom Fest Car and Truck Show, which is sponsored by the Western Kentucky Car Club, will award door prizes throughout the day in addition to hosting a 50/50 drawing.
The cost for registering a vehicle in the show is $20, and judging will begin at 1 p.m., with trophies being awarded at 3 p.m.
The second event, which is also giving all of its proceeds to the Special Olympics, is the Motorcycle Fun Run and Bike Show, which also opens registration at 9 a.m. The entry fee for the event is $15, and trophies will be awarded in the categories of American Bike, Metric Bike, Custom, and Trike.
The 90 mile bike ride begins immediately following the show, which also includes music and drawings.
Also beginning at 9 a.m. and running until 2 p.m. is the DECA Craft Fair at the Centre on Main, sponsored by the DECA Autism Project. Both indoor and outdoor booths will be selling a variety of craft goods.
Free carnival rides begin at 2 p.m. outside of the middle school, and performances by the inflatable ZOOperstars will be held at 3:30, 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.
A free open-air concert by Southbound and Sixth Floor will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the greatly anticipated fireworks display will begin at dark, rain or shine.
Also, throughout the day on Saturday, over $2,000 in prizes will be given away, said Johnson, though winners bust be present to claim their prizes. And, as always, a variety of interesting vendors will be present.
Saturday is also $1 swim day at the City Pool, which is conveniently located close to the Freedom Fest action.
The weekend full of events will conclude with Sunday’s 3 on 3 basketball tournament beginning at 2 p.m. in the middle school gym. Player registration begins an hour before the games, at 1 p.m., and the cost per player is $10. Teams must reserve their spot in the tournament by Friday, July 13.
In order to keep the bulk of the events free of charge for the public, Freedom Fest organizers encourage community members and organizations to help out by volunteering their time or donating funds.
“This type of event simply could not happen without the generous support of the entire community,” the group says on their website, where instructions are available for potential volunteers and donors.