Photo by DeMill Dixon
Part of a record crowd, gathered downtown and in the surrounding areas, watches the fireworks celebration July 3.
Photo by Dillon Day
The fireworks show makes for a pretty picture adjacent to the courthouse clock.
‘Spectacular night’ in Holly Springs
Holly Springs has hit its sweet spot. A record crowd, estimated at 4,000 to 5,000, gathered the night of July 3 for the fifth annual Independence Day celebration.
The main attractions were a spectacular fireworks show, sponsored by the City of Holly Springs and Contract Fabricators Inc., and Grammy Award winner Bobby Rush, who kicked off the Blues Alley Music Series.
Holly Springs also pitched in $1,500 to go toward entertainment.
It was family night and the street was full of parents, grands, and children of all ages. Bubble guns were a favorite of the children as well as Pronto Pups.
Mayor Kelvin Buck thought this was one of the best bikers and blues kickoff nights yet.
“We had a fantastic Fourth of July holiday kickoff this year,” he said. “I think is was our best one yet and I think it was also the largest crowd ever. I estimate approximately 4,000 people were in or around the square to celebrate with us.”
Buck provided his own crowd, his father from Tupelo and two of his sisters who were in attendance.
“I was so delighted to have my family members here,” he said, “and I can tell you they had a great time and were quite impressed with our celebration.”
The warm-up band, Jabbo Mississippi Blues Boys from Tupelo, filled the street with dancers. Line dancing is always a favorite of Holly Springs’ bikers and blues night attendees, and that got the energy going early before dark.
Mayor Buck also enjoyed line dancing and held a dance contest where two youngsters shared the winning prize – splitting a $100 bill donated by the mayor.
Alderman Lennell Lucas also believed the July 3 crowd was the biggest ever and the best mix – all in all a great night for the community.
“It was a better mix (of the races, ages, etc.) and the crowd was very relaxed and having a great time, even though it was warm,” Lucas said. “There were no mishaps.”
He attributed the community spirit and camaraderie of the crowd to good policing, plenty of volunteers including firefighters, the SkyCop cameras located on and off the square, among other factors.
The stage, provided by Kevin Thomas, was also a real plus for the musicians and the presentation of entertainers, Lucas said.
“I heard so much positive from the people,” Lucas said. “Everybody told me we went over the top this time.”
John Faulkner, who with Little “D” Lewis, produced the blues show, said he and Lewis hit a home run by attracting Bobby Rush to help kick off the Blues Alley Music Series.
“It fit his schedule and he was nice enough to come and help us out,” Faulkner said. “Bobby was impressed with the crowd and the energy of the people. He took pictures with people afterward. We are looking forward to him coming back and being with us again.
“It was an awesome night to kick off five weeks of concert night. It was a spectacular night. Thanks to the sponsors and the vendors and everybody who came, and to the Main Street Chamber staff and volunteers, the city employees. We are looking forward to the next four weeks.”
Alderman Mark Miller said everybody had a good time, with the fireworks always a highlight of the celebration. And everyone gets along with each other, another highlight of blues night in Holly Springs.
Having the event on Tuesday night prior to the July 4th holiday also probably increased attendance, he said. This way people had not gotten on the road for the holiday or were involved with competing schedules, he said.
Alderman Tim Liddy, who originated the idea of having a July 4th fireworks show combined with the first blues night of the season, thought the crowd could have been as large as 5,000 or more if including those gathered down in Spring Hollow Park, in the Alley, in business parking lots and in church yards.
“There was a huge crowd behind Family Dollar in the park, the Alley was packed, and a large group gathered at the Methodist church,” Liddy said. “A lot of people said it was the best they’ve seen.
“Bobby Rush put on a good show.”
Liddy helped coordinate the music with the fireworks show by cell phone.
“We had a good crowd - young, old, black and white, locals and people from outside the city,” he said. “And there were no incidents.”
Liddy was a volunteer but still had time to get in some dancing. And he also was a good host.
“We donated a room for Bobby Rush at our bed-andbreakfast,” he said. “He is pretty cool.”
Entertainment coming up on Thursdays for the Blues Alley Music Series, coordinated by the Main Street Chamber, includes:
July 12 - Zach Day;
July 19 - Lightnin’ Malcolm;
July 26 - Young Petty Thieves;
August 2 - Open Mike - must register first.