Let Freedom Ring

Let Freedom Ring

By Marla Jones, Managing Editor • marla@southerntorch.com

RAINSVILLE, Ala. — (Full video at SouthernTorch.com) The Rainsville Council held a special called meeting on Friday to vote on whether or not the Rainsville Freedom Fest would be held, as planned, on June 27. 

At a previous meeting of the Rainsville City Council, it was discussed rescheduling the event until August 28 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Councilmen Bejan Taheri and Marshall Stiefel called for the special meeting when a decision had not been made regarding the Freedom Fest.  

Taheri stated that people are ready to get out after three months. 

“I don’t see any reason to wait until August 28,” stated Taheri. “This virus is going to be around as long as we don’t have any cure.”

At the last meeting of the Rainsville City Council, all council members expressed their desire to move forward with having the annual event as scheduled.  Mayor Rodger Lingerfelt wanted to check with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the State Law before agreeing. 

On May 25, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey lifted restrictions on public gatherings. The Alabama Department of Public Health released guidelines on Friday morning to address how public events were to be held. 

After Taheri opened the floor to discussion on whether the festival would be held, Councilman Marshall Steifel stated the special called meeting was because of the failure of the council to put the measure to a vote at the last council meeting. 

“I understand that there are guidelines we have to go by but it’s called the Freedom Fest for a reason and people have the freedom to do what they want,” stated Stiefel. 

Councilman Brandon Freeman stated that he supported having the Freedom Fest but he when he took office, he took an oath to uphold the laws of the government. 

Councilman Ricky Bryum responded to Freeman stating that the council had not broken any laws. He went on to say that since the Council handles the financing and voted to have it, “it becomes law”.

“We are here for a reason, let freedom ring. It’s called Freedom Fest for a reason,” concluded Bryum. 

Stiefel stated that he spoke to Mayor Lingerfelt on Wednesday regarding the festival and was told that, “it’s kind of up in the air” by Lingerfelt. Stiefel continued by saying that it was a short notice to give to vendors but that he felt sure that Rainsville Chamber of Commerce Director Sandy Goff would be successful.

Mayor Rodger Lingerfelt agreed and said after he received confirmation, he proceeded to send checks out to get things moving forward for the festival.

“You never called me and said anything,” said Stiefel. Lingerfelt responded by saying he didn’t know he had to. 

According to restrictions, a layout plan and a Google map must be submitted to the Alabama State Fire Marshall. CDC guidelines as listed below will be followed:

  • Vendors will be 10 feet apart from each other
  • Vendors will wear masks
  • Extra bathrooms complete with hand sanitizer
  • No children’s activities such as inflatables or playgrounds will be allowed
  • A 6-foot distance is recommended

In a vote, the Council voted unanimously to hold the Rainsville Freedom Fest on June 27.

According to the Mayor, the Rainsville City Pool will open on June 1 at half capacity (60 swimmers). The City Park Walking Track and tennis courts are now open, along with the Northeast Alabama Agri-Business Center.

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