Freedom Fest 2016 to be held at Darlington Raceway on Monday, July 4

Freedom Fest will return to the Darlington Raceway on Independence Day: July 4, 2016, from 2pm to 10pm, sponsored by Genesis Healthcare, Inc. and the City of Darlington. This family fireworks festival is the signature event of the Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce and will again be free to attend, free to park, and feature a wide range of entertainment for attendees. Special attractions include the annual Cruise-In Car Show sponsored by Raceway Ford Chevrolet, live music from popular bands The Blue Dogs, Morgan’s Road, TJ Lazer, and the Rick Strickland Band, and a new-and-improved Kids’ Zone sponsored by Sonoco. Guests can expect a wide range of food, merchandise, arts & crafts, and nonprofit vendors to satisfy everybody in the family. The evening will conclude with a celebration of America’s Independence Day in fireworks.

“Freedom Fest is a signature event not just for the Darlington Chamber, but for all of the Pee Dee,” says Darlington Chamber executive director Norm Steadman. “Last year it felt like everybody in the county showed up, so this year we set about planning to make sure there was something here that everybody in the county would enjoy.” Steadman says that estimated 25,000 attendee turnout in 2015 was the inspiration for some of the changes to this year’s event. The new longer hours and expanded Kids’ Zone are examples of efforts to cater to a wider audience than ever before. “We’re getting a great response from people in Hartsville, in Florence, and even in Columbia. There’s going to be another great turnout this year, and we want to make sure all those people come and have a good time,” concludes Steadman.

The lineup of bands was carefully selected to include not only the traditional country and rock genres, but also beach music, R&B, and funk influences. Headliners The Blue Dogs are a self-styled “Americana” band and have over two decades of experience entertaining audiences across the country. Freedom Fest veterans Morgan’s Road will provide the familiar country rock edge traditionally associated with the event and the funk stylings of TJ Lazer, and the genre-defying sounds of the Rick Strickland Band will provide a great experience for the entire family.

The Cruise-In Car Show is always one of the most popular attractions at the event. From retro classics to new machines, the variety and quality of the cars on display is one of the reasons the show draws so much attention from attendees. Participants receive a dash plaque and best in show awards will be selected and announced from the main stage. Registration for the car show is now open; the entry fee is $20 and applications are available at the Darlington Chamber.

Perhaps the largest change to the event is in the Kids’ Zone. This year, the popular children’s activity area will be transformed into a carnival-style midway, with rides, games, and fun for kids of all ages, many of which will be free for attendees to play and ride. “We told Sonoco that we wanted to really knock the Kids’ Zone out of the park this year, and they stepped up and made that possible” says Steadman. “Just wait until you see what we have in store. Your kids are going to love it!”
Sponsorships, vendor spots, and car show slots are all still available. Information and registration forms can be found at the chamber’s website: Please call the chamber with any questions: (843) 393-2641.

Author: Duane Childers

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