Fun, family and fireworks at Smith Lake Park


Joe Brown, owner of Devil Dawgs Concessions, prepares a funnel cake during the Smith Lake Park Fireworks and Music Festival. (Hayden Hyatt for The Tribune)

CULLMAN – Thousands of revelers gathered to celebrate America's independence Wednesday at the annual Smith Lake Park Fireworks and Music Festival. The event featured food, live music and a huge fireworks show among other festivities.

Doug Davenport, director of Cullman County Parks and Recreation, spoke to The Tribune about some of the unique events at the festival.

“We've had entertainment all day since 8 this morning to 9 this evening,” Davenport said. “We had the golf cart parade at 3 o' clock – that was the most we've ever had. I would have hated to have been a judge there were so many and very well decorated.”

The festival also featured bouncy houses and other rides for children, vendors for everything from leather belts to toe rings, a Pepsi chugging contest, and various types of food including funnel cakes.

Joe Brown, owner of Devil Dawgs Concessions, provided funnel cakes and other food during the event.

“We're the exclusive vendor for funnel cakes,” said Brown. “(The festival) has been pretty good, a little stormy looking, but it's been good. It's great because all during the day it's just the local campers that come out here and they all seem to appreciate it a lot during the day. Then at night you have the community come out to enjoy all the food and fireworks. I think it's really good.”

Event safety was a priority for organizers. 

“Typically, we have about 5,000 or 8,000 people come in,” Davenport explained. “Everybody's had a safe time. We haven’t had issues other than a couple of breakers going out, but that's a normal thing when you have this many people using power. I haven't seen anybody acting out of order or the police have to carry anyone (out), and that's always a good thing, too.”

Cullman County Parks and Recreation organizes the festival every year, and according to Davenport, it's a way to give back.

“Every year we do things like this to give back to our community,” said Davenport. “It doesn't really reflect or change any of our staff’s salary or our pay, but we do it because we get to see the kids having a great time on the bounce houses and families coming out and spending the whole day with each other cooking out. It's fun.”

David Melvin, who camped at the park and attended the festival, seemed to appreciate it.

“We've been coming here the last couple of years,” Melvin said. “It's good, it's always good. They have a good fireworks show and that's what everybody comes for.”

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