Frank Parker is the man behind the curtain for the annual Fourth of July Celebration in Cherokee Park.
“Planning for the July Fourth Celebration begins in December,” Parker said. “We start making preparations as far as getting sponsors go. The first thing I try to do is get a band, something that the general public likes. Traditionally, it’s been country or southern rock. It’s a long process and it takes a lot of time.
“This is one thing you can’t do by yourself,” he said. “You’ve got to have some help. I’ve got way too much to do at the park besides the Fourth of July.”
Parker has been involved with the Fourth of July Celebration for 20 years.
The Citizen Tribune was the main sponsor in the early years. In 2011, Hamblen County took over sponsorship of the celebration and Parker has been working lead since.
“The Fourth of July this year, the Terry Law Firm is sponsoring the fireworks,” he said. “This will be the largest fireworks show we’ve ever had.”
Basketcase, an alternative rock/southern rock band, will open the celebration followed by the feature band, All my Rowdy Friends, a Hank Williams Jr. tribute band from Goldsboro, North Carolina. The music is sponsored by Food City
“I called All my Rowdy Friends back in December,” Parker said. “Frank Moore, the lead singer, we discussed prices back and forth and we finally came to something we both liked. They signed a contract in February.”
It took Parker longer to get Basketcase as the warm-up act.
“They sing a lot of rock and roll, but I had to have somebody to cover,” he said.
The food vendors have been lined up, including Food City and Texas Roadhouse.
Texas Roadhouse will provide food for the bands and all who help out.
“The main reason Hamblen County promotes this is because of the general public,” Parker said. “It’s a free event to show our appreciation for them. Cherokee Park is a big draw. A lot of people have come to this park over the last 10 years.”
Many improvements have happened at the park in recent years, including a splash pad and a veterans’ pavilion. This park is well used, Parker said.
“We have open reservations at the first of January each year and they start booking all the pavilions and sheds, and the indoor pavilion,” Parker said. “Starting at the beginning of April, every weekend is booked Saturday and Sunday through to October.”