8th of August celebration ready for another year

OJ Stapleton - ostapleton@newsdemocratleader.com

A uniquely Russellville tradition will take place once again this weekend as the 29th annual Emancipation Celebration gets into full swing.

The festival, better known as the “Eighth of August” kicked off on Thursday and will have some Friday events, but Saturday is always the big day of events.

this year’s theme is “The Best Time of My Life” and was presented in a gospel service Thursday evening at the West Kentucky African American Heritage Museum next to Mt. Zion Baptist Church. the Rev. Tony Woodson, past of Townsend Grove Baptist Church, served as the master of ceremony for the service and the message was brought by Rev. Perron Dillard of Cedar Grove Baptist Church.

Friday activities include the Taste of Culture grilling and bake sale at Kathy’s Hair Salon on 9th Street. There will also be grilling and vendors at the KP Hall on East 5th Street.

The big Friday event will be the blues concert.

Russellville Blues will present a free concert on Friday, August 7, featuring the the music of Ray Charles and Mary Ann Fisher. Soloists will include two of Mary Ann Fisher’s friends during the latter part of her life, Marjorie Marshall and Butch Williams. They will be singing the songs that we all know from the musical library of Charles and Fisher, and they will be joined by Tyrone Dunn and Travis Long, who will put their own spin on some of these great hits. The band backing up these singers will be ZoGo, featuring, Alonzo Pennington, Andy Torian, Gerry Smoot and Michael Gough, along with saxophonist Eric Allen, trumpeter Kevin Goodknight and keyboardist Brauninger McDaniel. The second set will feature the artists’ picks of their favorite classic soul hits from the 70’s.

This concert will held on the grounds of the African American Heritage Museums at the corner of 6th and Morgan streets in Russellville. An exhibit on Fisher’s life is displayed in one of the museums, and there will be free admission to all of the museums during the weekend.

Plenty of food and beverages will be available during the weekend’s events, and guests to the concert are encouraged to bring a lawn chair for the show that will begin around 7:30 p.m.

The Platinum Presenting Sponsor for the concert is Bluegrass Cellular. Event Sponsors are R J Corman, WRUS and Robey Farms. Several other local businesses and individuals are financial supporters of these community events.

Saturday activities will begin with the Opening and Flag Ceremony conducted by the American Legion Post 269 at 10 a.m. in Hampton Park. At that time, the second annual Emancipation Parade will begin lining up to start shortly thereafter at 10:15 a.m. in the area of First Baptist Church on South Spring Street.

The public is invited to come out and enjoy all the other activities of the day, including men’s softball, men’s dustbowl basketball, children’s inflatables, music, concessions and vendors all at Hampton Park.

OJ Stapleton


To contact OJ Stapleton, email ostapleton@newsdemocratleader.com or call 270-726-8394.

To contact OJ Stapleton, email ostapleton@newsdemocratleader.com or call 270-726-8394.

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