One of the more impressive aspects of this year’s FreedomFest didn’t have anything to do with fireworks, music or good food.
Each year after the festivities wrap up following the fireworks show, cars crowd the streets for an hour as people leave Springbrook Park. This year, the traffic was cleared out shortly after the event finished, City of Alcoa public information and special projects coordinator Tricia Tipton said.
“Normally it take 45 minutes to an hour to clear out and, in 15 to 20 minutes, we were wondering where are the people,” said Tipton. “Normally it takes until 11 p.m. before traffic thins out and in 20 minutes it was already thinned out. It was wonderful.”
Tipton said the Alcoa, Inc., helped make this happen by allowing motorists to cross a field on the old West Plant property. Motorists drove from Faraday Street in front of Alcoa High School across the field and exited onto Hall Road, she said.
The aluminum company also helped by allowing the city to use a field at the intersection of Edison Street and Springbrook Road for parking. “Our new parking field the aluminum company let us use was full. We marked a corner off for spectator viewing. We estimated 500 cars were in there,” Tipton said.
Tipton said that despite the inclement weather, the crowds were good. “Despite the rain shower we had, it went really well. We had a good crowd, probably a little smaller than normal because of the weather, but by the time the event started that evening, we had a full crowd,” she said.
Tipton said the day went well. “There were no major or minor mishaps or incidents of any sort,” she said. “It ran smoothly. I think it was safe and successful for everyone.”
Tipton said planners are talking about next year’s event. “We’ve already got the date for next year’s event, June 27, and we already are beginning to line up a few things for that,” she said.