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4th Annual Summer Salute Festival Draws Largest Two-Day Crowd Ever

Event organizers boast 29,000 attendees, announce Festival dates for next five years

In its fourth year, the revamped Summer Salute Festival drew the largest two-day crowd since its inception, as event organizers announced that approximately 29,000 people converged on downtown Hopkinsville over the weekend. 

Only the Total Solar Eclipse version of the Festival, which brought in about 35,000 over three days in 2017, has been larger. 

With an expanded list of Kids Zone activities and the addition of more food and drink vendors, Summer Salute Festival — touted as the “Biggest Party of the Summer” — did not disappoint, as the Aug. 23-24, 2019 two-day event featured free concerts, carnival rides, laser tag, Knocker Ball, bouncers, a retro arcade, a Kiddie Train (sponsored by First Financial Bank) and more. 

“Our visitors had some specific requests and desires following Summer Salute in 2018. And not only did we listen closely to that feedback, but we made sure to also act by providing unique opportunities for kids and offering a robust variety of food and beverage options,” said Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation Superintendent Tab Brockman. “Making Summer Salute as successful as possible starts with catering to our attendees, and we have heard nothing but positive reviews from this year’s offerings.” 

The largest annual festival in Hoptown, Summer Salute featured 90 vendor spots and six free concerts Friday and Saturday, spurned a community-wide party and welcomed visitors from around the region and commonwealth. Since rebranding and restructuring from the event formerly known as Little River Days, Summer Salute has brought in a total of 104,000 attendees in four years, with no signs of slowing down. 

The Festival has a goal of exceeding over 100 vendor spaces next year. Registration forms will soon be available at HoptownRec.com. 

Sponsored by Fortera Credit Union, Hopkinsville Electric System-Energy Net, Hopkinsville Water Environment Authority (HWEA) and Pennyrile Electric, Saturday night’s headline concert with country music legend Joe Diffie and up-and-coming start Walker Montgomery packed the Christian County Justice Center parking lot and beyond, helping to bring close to 19,000 people downtown during Day Two of the Festival. 

“We are excited that our community and region continue to enjoy this awesome festival,” said Hopkinsville Mayor Carter Hendricks. “Additionally, we are thankful for the staff, volunteers, sponsors, and vendors that made the fourth annual the best yet.” 

Hendricks and Christian County Judge-Executive Steve Tribble were on hand during Friday night’s show, featuring The Jimmy Church Band. Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation held a birthday celebration, including cupcakes for the audience and a cake for Church, who recently turned 80 years old. 

Hendricks and Tribble then read a Proclamation, declaring Aug. 23, 2019 as Jimmy Church Day in Hopkinsville and Christian County. Sponsored by Hand Family Companies, the Jimmy Church stage had the crowd rocking around Founders Square. 

With the event continuing to grow in attendance and popularity, Summer Salute Festival has gone ahead and set its dates for the next five years. The Festival will be held the weekend before Labor Day Weekend, through 2024, and will take place on the following weekends: 

· Aug. 28-29, 2020
· Aug. 27-28, 2021
· Aug. 26-27, 2022
· Aug. 25-26, 2023
· Aug. 23-24, 2024

“The reason we work so hard to prepare and execute this event is to provide a memorable experience for our local citizens and regional visitors, so to see the enthusiasm over Summer Salutes, both present and future, is very encouraging,” Brockman said. 

Hoptown Parks and Recreation has already begun planning for 2020. Attendees and citizens are welcome to voice their suggestions by calling 270-887-4290, emailing info-parks-and-rec@hopkinsvilleky.us or commenting on the various social media platforms.