Smith Lake Park celebrates 50th anniversary with a bang

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A spectacular fireworks display capped off Smith Lake Park’s 50th anniversary celebration and annual Fourth of July festival Monday night, July 4, 2022. (Sammy Confer for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Smith Lake Park celebrated its 50th anniversary Monday by hosting its annual Fourth of July Fireworks Festival. Admission was free and attendees enjoyed food, music, games and the always popular golf cart parade. The park was packed all day, and the event was capped off with a spectacular fireworks display.

Mark Fortenberry said he has been going to Smith Lake Park for the Fourth of July for five years.

“It’s really good. We really enjoy it up here. We come camping through the park for this event for the Fourth of July. It’s special,” he said. “I was not in the military, but it’s a very special holiday. It’s one of the most important holidays of the year. There were a lot of people that showed up at this event, more than I expected. The fact that it’s free, there’s a lot (of people), but they would have been here anyway. It’s really great to see so many people here on such a special day. I’m happy to see this many people.”

Kimberly Siegel said she’s been attending the event for years, but this year was her first as a vendor.

“It’s pretty awesome. It’s always wonderful for the people in the community to come together. It’s always nice when everybody can come together to celebrate a holiday and be together,” Siegel smiled.

As to what the holiday means to her, she said, “Independence Day is very important to me because the United States is not like any other country on Earth. We have a lot of freedoms here that other people don’t have in other countries. When you compare the United States to other countries and you see what freedoms we have and what freedoms they don’t have, then you have to understand how lucky we are to live here.”

Siegel was pleased to see such a huge turnout at the park. She reminisced about military family members who lost their lives in wars and talked about how happy they would have been to see so many people at such a special event.

“It’s awesome. It’s a feeling of community and the county coming together to celebrate our nation’s freedoms and independence- our nation’s birthday,” she said. “They would feel honored that so many people came together to be a part of the celebration of our freedoms, our country and everything else. My dad was in Vietnam, and they did not have a very good reception in the United States when they came back from Vietnam, but later on, people started respecting the military a lot more. Just honoring them by everyone coming together would be a big deal for them.” 

It was Stella Smith’s first time at the festival.

“It was really fun. There was a lot to do here and a lot to see here. The music was really good. It’s so great to have an event here at Smith Lake Park, especially with it being free this year,” Smith said. “It’s really awesome that they’re doing this. Independence Day means a lot to me. Being able to be free and just celebrate our country; it’s good. The fireworks are always cool.”

Added Smith, “It’s so great to see all different kinds of people here, seeing them have fun and just enjoying life. It’s just really cool to see all of these people here.”

Smith Lake Park, part of Cullman County Parks and Recreation, hosts festivals and different events throughout the year. Find out more at www.cullmancountyparks.com.

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