Part of the rebranding effort includes moving from the previous May festival to August, a change that aligns the 2016 Summer Salute as a "pre-clipse" event and test drive for the Solar Eclipse on August 21 of 2017. The inaugural Summer Salute is a two-day event that includes the annual Chili Cookoff, presented by the Chamber of Commerce's Military Affairs Committee. Plans call for expanding Summer Salute to a three-day event for the 2017 Solar Eclipse weekend, running August 18-20 prior to the actual August 21 Eclipse Day.
"I am excited to be announcing this new festival that combines the best of the heritage of Little River Days with the unique opportunity presented by the 2017 Solar Eclipse. Through generous sponsorships and strategic partnerships, the Summer Salute Festival promises to be a signature regional event for years to come! Hooah for Hoptown," said Mayor Carter Hendricks.
The title sponsorship from Jennie Stuart Medical helps set a financial cornerstone for Summer Salute. A number of other opportunities exist for businesses to participate with Friday night entertainment, fireworks, classic car shows both days and kid's zone plans underway. The signature event for this year's Summer Salute will be a major Saturday night concert.
"We are so excited to be on the ground floor of this wonderful Summer Salute event," said Steve King, Jennie Stuart Health Marketing Director.
"This is an event that will provide entertainment and opportunities to our entire community. As a community based hospital with over 900 employees, we at Jennie Stuart see this as yet another way to give back to our community in a way that will be a positive, healthy and all-inclusive event," King added.
The city's Division of Parks and Recreation has been consulting with a number of individuals and groups on planning Summer Salute over the winter, including developing the name and theme for the festival.
"The event name, logo development and event brainstorming has been a fun exercise for our team at Parks and Recreation," said Tab Brockman, Superintendent. "Mayor Hendricks challenged us and recognized the great opportunity for Hopkinsville to take advantage of the excitement that surrounds the upcoming Solar Eclipse. Our Parks and Recreation team has been talking about the need to rework Little River Days for the last several years.
"The announcement of the new Summer Salute festival is a result of a unique opportunity with the Solar Eclipse timing coinciding with the need to do something new and better for our Hopkinsville community festival," Brockman concluded.
Music will play a big role in Summer Salute, officials revealed. Friday night's activities will feature a well-known music review. During the day Saturday, Fort Campbell's 101st Band will perform at the Chili Cookoff area in Founder's Square. Saturday night's headliner act is expected be a national artist that music fans will recognize, performing on a "big stage" in front of the Justice Center. The announcement of all entertainers and additional sponsors will be coming regularly over the coming weeks.
In addition to music, music, music, kids will have a wide arrange of free activities at Kid's Zone locations at Summer Salute. And, of course, the usual bevy of craft and food vendors will be on hand Friday and Saturday to add to the festival atmosphere. Parks and Recreation officials are striving to double the number of vendors on hand this year.
Additional announcements about 2016 Summer Salute sponsors, performers, and festival additions will be made in the coming weeks. For more information, follow Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation on Facebook and Twitter, or visit on the web at www.hoptownrec.com.
Parks & Rec Superintendent Tab Brockman, Jennie Stuart Health Marketing Director Steve King and Mayor Carter Hendricks at the Summer Salute Press Conference