Franklin gathers to celebrate independence

Published 9:40 pm Monday, July 17, 2023

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Downtown Franklin was the place to be Wednesday, June 28, as the city and Blackwater Community Events co-hosted Franklin’s 2023 Independence Day Celebration, which drew a large crowd to see classic cars, hear good music, eat free food and take in impressive fireworks.

Remarkable specialty vehicles lined South Main Street for a stretch and populated the city parking lot at the corner of South Main Street and East 1st Avenue in front of the fire station for the weekly Franklin Cruise-In. The cruise-in’s organizer, Mike Smith, estimated that well more than 125 specialty vehicles were on hand.
The Franklin Farmers Market operated just down the street, The Franklin Experience Inc. provided free hot dogs and watermelon while supplies lasted, and The Embers brought Barrett’s Landing to life later on in the evening, leading all the way up to the fireworks.

Franklin City Manager Amanda C. Jarratt said, “The City of Franklin Independence Day Celebration was a smashing success and wonderful kickoff to the holiday weekend. We are thankful to the various financial sponsors, volunteers and city employees that made the event possible. We had wonderful attendance at the Franklin Cruise-In, The Embers concert and the fireworks display. We look forward to next year’s celebration.”

“I was really impressed with the turnout,” Franklin Mayor Robert “Bobby” Cutchins said. “It was so many people. It was just awesome to see everybody come together.”

“As I sat back and I looked around at everybody, it was kind of a reminder to me as to why people do what they do,” he added. “Like myself being the mayor, as I looked around, it just gave me a good feeling to see the support of so many people out there, and I feel like good things are happening. So it’s not just about the celebration of the Fourth of July, but every day is a gift and a special occasion, so we have to just celebrate all things.”

He noted that it takes a lot of people to make the Independence Day Celebration happen.

“You’ve got the Franklin Cruise-In, you’ve got The Franklin Experience, all the staff members, all the sponsors that put up (funding), police, fire, city manager, City Council and all the volunteers — it’s just a big group effort,” he said.

Weather permitting, the Franklin Cruise-In is held every Wednesday evening from spring through early fall, and organizers of the Independence Day Celebration wanted to pair the cruise-in with the celebration but did not want to hold the celebration Wednesday, July 5, after the holiday was actually over. This prompted the Fourth of July event to come six days early this year.

“That was the biggest reason this year and getting the booking from the fireworks people to coordinate with what we can do,” Cutchins said, referring to the early date for the event. “But next year I feel like it will be a lot closer to the fourth, so a possibility might be the third. We’re going to work on it and see what we can do.”

Cutchins said he and fellow organizers wondered if the early nature of the celebration this year was going to affect attendance in a negative way, “but obviously it did not.”