Thousands enjoy July 4th event
Four short years ago, no one could have known that the one small idea of having a city-sponsored July 4th celebration would turn into an event that now attracts people from all over Northwest Alabama.
Organizers estimate 13,000 to 14,000 people turned out on Wednesday for the city’s Jam on Sloss Lake July 4th celebration.
“Every year amazes me a little bit more than the last,” councilman Gary Cummings said. “We have had record-setting heat the past few weeks and the temperature got over 100 degrees on Wednesday, but thousands of people still came out and supported this event. It was great to see everyone coming together like that to celebrate our country and support our city.”
This year, Cummings said the city was able to set up a command post – something they haven’t had in the past – and he said everything went smoothly thanks in large part to the cooperation of all the city departments.
“With all those people we had coming in and out all day, we didn’t have so much as a scuffle or a fender bender,” he said. “The fire department and police department did an excellent job of keeping things under control and the street and park and rec departments were instrumental in getting things set up. We also received continued support from the Russellville Electric, Gas, Water and Sewer boards.
“This was a team effort and we couldn’t have done it without all these people.”
Even though the event is always a major undertaking by the city, Cummings said it was well worth it to provide a venue for residents to celebrate the nation’s founding.
“I think the Jam on Sloss Lake continues to be a success because it is convenient for our people to come here,” he said. “The traffic flows better than it does at other events, it’s close to home for many people, and the quality of the event is just as good as other places.
“We’re glad to provide this event year after year because it is the one time out of the year we can give back to the people of our city and give them something fun to do.”
Cummings said there was a steady stream of people throughout the day enjoying the games, inflatables, food vendors, entertainment and the third annual car show held by the Cotton Flats Cruisers.
“You know, it doesn’t surprise me all that much that people came out to listen to the music or to watch the fireworks because our citizens really seem to support things like that, but the crowd that showed up for the car show was just unbelievable,” Cummings said. “It just goes to show that there was just really something there for everyone to enjoy, which makes this the perfect event for families.”
Families were exactly what Cummings had in mind 15 years ago when he first thought of having an event like this.
“My daddy used to bring us to Sloss Lake to swim, and I have such fond memories of us spending that time together as a family,” he said. “There is hardly a week that goes by where I don’t think about the fun times we had there.
“Remembering those times is what led me to bring up the idea to the rest of the city council and everyone was on board with it from day one. The mayor and council have really gotten behind this idea because they all saw the importance in it.
“My hope is that, through this event, other families will be able to make memories like the ones I had growing up.”