HAZARD—Citizens of Hazard and Perry County have an event-packed holiday weekend to look forward to this Fourth of July weekend. The usual suspects will, of course, still be happening—fireworks, cookouts, and festivals—along with some new events that the people of Perry County may not have seen on the Fourth in a number of years.
Hazard Mayor Jimmy Lindon said one of his fondest memories of celebrating the Fourth of July in his hometown has to be attending the Fourth of July Fish Fry in downtown Hazard.
“I never missed one, and everybody always enjoyed it,” Lindon remembered. “You got to see people you didn’t get to see all of the time. It was just people having a good time.”
For those who may not remember, or have never experienced one, the fish fry was a huge event, sponsored by the City of Hazard, where free fried fish, sides, and a desserts were given out to crowds reaching sometimes near 1,000. Around five years ago, the city decided to stop hosting the event as a cost-saving measure for the local government.
“When I got elected, that was one of the things people said, ‘Will you bring back the fish fry?’ I said, I will.”
And Lindon, in his first year behind the mayor’s desk, has not disappointed.
Starting at 11 a.m., on Saturday, July 4, Lindon said volunteers will be serving enough fish, hotdogs, sides, and desserts at the shelter beside the Hazard City Hall to feed more than 700 people.
“We’re going to have volunteers. We have people out in the community, through InVision (Hazard), and it’s great that people’s wanting to get involved in it,” Lindon said.
He added that he, the city, and a number of organizations, including the Hazard-Perry Tourism Department, the Hazard Lions Club, the Foundation for an Appalachian Kentucky, Rep. Fitz Steels, and Perry Distributors, were able to garner enough donations—money, goods, and services—to put the event on with little to no cost to the City of Hazard.
“I would have liked to have gotten some music for it, and everybody I kind of talked to seemed like they were already tied up,” Lindon laughed, adding that if anyone is interested in playing at the event, to contact the Hazard City Hall.
“What we’re wanting to do is create that atmosphere again. People loved it, and it’s just—it’s a day of camaraderie, and everybody just gets together and socializes and has a good time,” Lindon said, explaining that this atmosphere may be even more easily attained thanks to a number of other events going on this weekend.
The first ever “Fish the City” fishing tournament will be held Saturday morning, starting at 7 a.m.
“You can fish anywhere in the river, I think from the Woodland Park Bridge down as far as you want (within the city limits),” he explained.
Cash prizes and trophies will be awarded to the first, second, and third place winners in the tournament, as well as for the biggest fish caught. All of the prizes have been sponsored by local attorneys.
For those fishers who may be skeptical about being able to catch a fish in downtown Hazard, Lindon said there should be no problem.
“There’s so many people out here every morning and in the evenings. They’re fishing in this river already, and they’re catching mainly largemouth bass, muskie, and catfish,” he said, adding that—to help increase the fish population—1,000 catfish were imported from Breathitt County and put in the river on Monday morning.
“They’re anywhere from 7 to 11 inches long,” Lindon said. “That’s going to make it really fun and get a really big crowd.”
Lindon said for more information on the rules and how to register, call Sam Collins at 606-487-1234, or email him at email@example.com. The proceeds from the event will go to Invision Hazard.
Once the fish fry and fishing tournament is over, Lindon said he hopes folks will stick around for the annual fireworks show, which will begin at dark.
Another Hazard leader is also optimistic about this weekend’s planned events, which will also include the second year for a car show, a 5K run, and a bike ride, all for the benefit of local cancer patients.
In May 2014, Lt. Paul Campbell, with the Hazard Police Department (HPD), was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. Immediately, his fellow officers and community members rallied around him to help raise money to fight the disease, hosting a 5K Foot Pursuit run/walk, a car show, and a bike ride, among other events, and raised thousands of dollars.
Now, though Campbell has recently been given a clean bill of health, the HPD still plans to put of the extremely successful events.
HPD Chief Minor Allen said this year the money may not be going directly to one of their own, but it will be going directly to a cause too many of their own have been touched by.
“I think everyone has had someone that’s been touched by cancer,” Allen said. “It’s just something that’s near and dear to our hearts.”
Allen explained that the 5KFoot Pursuit Run/1 mile Walk will be held on July 3, starting at 9 p.m.—with registration at 7 p.m.—starting at the Hazard City Hall. The bike ride, which will also begin at city hall, will start at 11 a.m. on July 4, with the car show following at 4 p.m. along Main Street.
“The money from these events is going to go to the ARH Cancer Center patients, to help them get gas cards to get to their treatments,” Allen said. “Some of the stories we’ve heard from some of the patients are just heartbreaking. Some of them have had to choose between money for gas to get to the treatments or money for food … That’s why they help them there.”
Other communities around Perry County will also be hosting Fourth of July events.
The City of Vicco will be hosting its annual Vicco Bash throughout the weekend, complete with local food and fireworks. For more information, call 606-476-9064.
The City of Buckhorn will also be hosting fireworks on Friday, July 3, at dark.
Amelia Holliday can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.