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‘Freedom’ is success

The crowds during the weekend’s Freedom on the River may have been a bit slimmer than last year, but Chamber organizers claimed success.

“We think it went great,” said Kelley Smith, coordinator of the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce event.

“We still could have had more spectators out for the (Best Burger) competition,” she said.

About 275 people turned out for the Best Burger in Bama competition, won by the rookie Meat Savers team from Tombigbee EMS.

“We were very impressed with all the entries in the burger competition. Everyone just ‘wowed’ the crowd,” Smith said.

The weekend’s events consisted of the burger competition and bands Saturday evening and a children’s parade and a fireworks display on Sunday.

“We had a great turnout for the children’s parade and it was very festive and the children enjoyed it. Then, of course, the fireworks was a blast as always,” she said.

Smith she believed the long weekend impacted the number of event goers who turned out for the festivities, but still compared the turnout as “a good crowd” and “average” when compared to years past.

“We feel good about this year’s events,” she said, “although attendance didn’t compare to last year … People were headed out of town on vacation or to visit family (over the long weekend) and we think it had an effect (on turnout),” she said.

With the weekend scarcely over, Smith was already turning to the sixth annual Freedom on the River.

“We’re looking to expand next year’s fireworks budget and gain more sponsors for that,” she said. “We’d like that show to be bigger and better.”