The 40th annual LibertyFest kept Edmond hopping over the weekend as people set out to celebrate the Fourth of July. Named by CNN and USA Today as one of the “Top 10 July 4th Festivals in the United States,” the festival kept to its traditions and celebrated its theme of “40 Years of Fun Family Festivals” with some of its hallmark attractions.
More Independence Day fun continues Wednesday, but here is an overview of what happened June 30 and July 1.
Hot Rods, cool customs and vintage classics converged on Hafer Park for the 11th annual LibertyFest Car Show. Show chairman Robert Meinders, who also chairs the fireworks show on the Fourth of July, said the crowd was better than expected.
“It was a great event this year,” he said.
Meinders estimates that the show averages between 100 and 130 cars annually, but not this year.
“I had to end up cutting it off at 184,” he said.
Nearly every era was featured, Meinders said. He said there were several cars from the turn of the century, Model T Fords and others from typical car show eras such as the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s.
Ford Thunderbirds and Chevy Corvettes were in abundance, he added.
“We were really pleased we had a good turnout,” said Terry Officer, LibertyFest president.
Cars were categorized in one of 22 groups ranging from 1900 to current day with subgroups of pickups, street rods, convertibles, foreign cars and other unique groups.
Prizes and trophies were awarded to class winners, along with two 4-foot-tall trophies awarded to the vehicles voted “Best of Show” pre-1980 and post-1980.
In addition to running the whole festival, Officer was also chairman of this year’s KiteFest, which he has been a part of for 18 years. The show runs for two days and has been a staple at LibertyFest for 22 years.
Kites flew all day Saturday and Sunday, and Officer said they were able to do the lighted night flight.
“I’ve heard compliments that people could see the kites from some distance,” he said. “That’s a big compliment.”
Officer estimated that as many as 600 people came to the west side of Mitch Park in the two-day kite flying jamboree.
People came from as far as Wichita, Kan., and Wichita Falls and Temple, Texas, to fly kites, he said.
The party continued on Sunday when drivers took to the streets for the annual Road Rally. The scavenger hunt on wheels started and ended in the City Administration Parking lot on the corner of Boulevard and First Street.
Teams of two, a driver and a navigator, motored throughout Edmond to answer 145 questions like “Edmond is what?” at different locations on a route. By the way, the answer is “A great place to grow.”
First, second and third places won a trophy and cash prizes ranging from $100 to $50. Fourth through tenth also received trophies.
Sixty-one vehicles drove the course, an improvement from 2011’s 45. Road Rally Committee member Terry Lanham said they’ve had as many as 120 participate.
“It can get challenging, some people start yelling at each other in the cars, but most people come back and say they’ve had fun,” Lanham said.
The more eyes on the road the better, Lanham said. That was, in part, what gave the eight Edmond women who won, lead by driver Alicia Brooksher, the edge.
This group had gotten second place the last five of the 12 years they’d participated. Sunday was their first time taking the top honor.
“Friendship goes out the window when you shut the doors,” said Kelly Cooper, the navigator.
Not only did the victors get the spoils, but the last place finishers got some dignity with a miniature race trophy and a road map of Edmond.
The team who brought up the rear was the duo of driver Adam Scott — visiting from Somerset, England — and Kristen Adams, from Edmond.
“We could really use this road map, it’s great,” Scott said. “We’ll get to see the whole of Edmond.”
The Road Rally has been a fun fixture at LibertyFest for about 20 years, said Maj. Steve Thompson of the Edmond Police Department.
Sunday night was capped with its cornerstone fundraiser, “A Taste of Edmond,” which featured mouth-watering samples from 40 Edmond restaurants.
As people milled about and enjoyed the mounds of barbecue, pasta, pizza and iced tea from McAlister’s Deli, they were serenaded by the soothing acoustic guitar and vocals of Stephen Salewon of Oklahoma City.
People ate until full, and then ate some more at the Festival Market Place.
“I think lots of tummies were filled,” said event Chair Kim Griffin. “It’s kind of a win-win situation. It’s a winner for the people eating the food and it’s a winner for the people bringing the food.”
Griffin estimated that more than 2,500 people attended and about $5,000 was raised to fund the 41st LibertyFest fireworks show next summer.
The donations have helped keep LibertyFest as a summer fixture since 1991.
Road Rally Winners
First Place — Driver Alicia and Navigator Kelly car #21 with 45 points
Second Place — Driver Byron and Navigator Chris car #17 with 52 points
Third Place — Driver Brad and Navigator Will car #22 with 53 points
Fourth Place — Driver Jerry and Navigator Annette car #210 with 63 points
Fifth Place — Driver Curtis and Navigator Jenny car #207 with 68 points
Sixth Place – Driver Kaitlynne and Navigator Teighynne car #13 with 72 points
Seventh Place — Driver Barb and Navigator Krista car #203 with 77 points
Eighth Place — Driver Nevin and Navigator Shawn car #114 with 84 points
Ninth Place — Driver Cole and Navigator Bishop car #4 with 85 points
Tenth Place — Driver Mike and Navigator Amy car #108 with 85 points
Last Place — Driver Adam and Navigator Cristin car #119 with 263 points