For Louisville’s 20th anniversary, the entire town came together to celebrate.
Donielle Stone, organizer of the Oct. 16 event, said about 2,000 people attended. The population of Louisville is 2,183, according to the 2010 US Census.
“We wanted to do an event with an emphasis on community, especially children,” she said.
The anniversary event, “Oktoberfest,” was held at Louisville Point Park, which is a peninsula on Fort Loudon Lake. Stone said the highlight of the event was the children’s free fishing tournament. Through community donations, 140 rods and reels were given to children at no cost.
“The kids kept saying, ‘We get to keep these?” Stone said, “Many of the parents could not cast and everybody got a kick out of trying. Even moms and dads were learning how to fish that day.”
The children’s play area had munchkin pumpkins to decorate, games and a bounce house.
Stone said not only were young attendees emphasized, but the event raised more than $4,000 for “Shop with a Cop.” The charity is a local children’s holiday gift program where low-income kids receive $150 to shop with a cop for Christmas gifts.
The Blount County Sheriff’s office sent a K-9 and horse unit for kids to see. The off-duty officers also helped with parking and security.
The event also featured an early morning bass fishing tournament for adults, a cyclist rally, outdoor family activities and music.
The committee wanted to encourage families in the community to participate in outdoor adventure and sports activities because Louisville is such an ideal spot for it.
Oktoberfest was spearheaded by the Louisville Parks and Rec committee. “We are about getting people outside and enjoying the community,” Stone said.
Stone, who is the chair of the committee, said the free event was funded and operated by volunteers. “One person could not have pulled this thing off. The Parks and Rec committee went above and beyond,” she said.
Several local businesses and individuals contributed. The largest donations were provided by Foothills Bank & Trust and local resident Dorothy Carter Pearlman.
Along with monetary donations, Stone said offerings of equipment and time were vital to the event’s success.
Louisville Christian Church provided games and the bounce house. Many people donated their time, like Mike Vineyard of C&C Outdoors, who Stone said worked tirelessly to secure discounts for children’s fishing equipment.
She said the town of Louisville has always made children a priority.
“Just watching all of those kids fishing at Louisville Point Park with their parents was a joy to see,” Stone said. “It was a beautiful day to be outside in Louisville.”