Changing the structure of Freedom Fest 2012 helped revitalize the event, organizers said.
While rides at the carnival were free, Leitchfield Tourism Director Ilsa Johnson said they were giving out armbands in an attempt to track the number of people attending. They had 450 armbands, which were gone within a couple of hours of the rides opening up.
Early estimates are that about 2,000 people attended the carnival, games and concert Saturday, July 14, on the grounds of Grayson County Middle School.
“Attendance was higher than ever,” Johnson said. “I do think that it helped us to make it one day, instead of two days.”
Money from Leitchfield’s new restaurant tax was used to subsidize the carnival rides, keeping them free for children.
Johnson said that change will “definitely” be in place for Freedom Fest 2013 too, and possibly more rides will be available.
“To have something like that, free for the families, you have your restaurant tax to thank for it,” Mayor William Thomason said.
The city paid the $8,000 tab for Saturday night’s fireworks display, he said, with tourism funds from the restaurant tax covering the $3,000 bill for Elizabethtown-based S & S Concessions and Amusements. The Leitchfield Lions Club paid for two bouncy houses, allowing children to use those free as well.