Three-day FreedomFest under way, ending with music and fireworks


New Albany’s three-day FreedomFest began Thursday with a downtown event, follows Friday with Shakespeare and music, and concludes with trail riding, barbecue, more music and fireworks Saturday.

The New Albany Community Development staff has put together the program, designating June 24-26 as the “Spoke ‘n Word” weekend.

“The mission of the Spoke ‘n Word Weekend started as a storytelling and bike riding event,” Director Billye Jean Stroud said. “It has blossomed into a variety of unique activities that occur over the entire weekend.”

Thursday offered a past popular event, Unwine’d & Walk downtown and around New Albany. The adult event combines strolling, shopping and wine tasting.

The Friday event will be something new: “Shakespeare in the Park (Along the River).”

Players will present some of the more familiar snippets of Shakespeare’s work interspersed with music and explanation. It will begin at 7 p.m. on the Riverview Stage in the Park Along the River.

Saturday begins with Pedaling for Hope on the Tanglefoot Trail, a fundraiser for the Regional Rehab Center in Tupelo and New Albany Main Street.

They will have 25-mile, 50-mile, and 100-kilometer options. There will be water and sports drink along the course and a service vehicle will follow behind. After the ride, they will enjoy food, music and door prizes.

For More information call the Regional Rehab Center at 662-842-1891 or New Albany Main Street Association at 662-534-3438. You can register online at

Also Saturday, the Union County Library will feature professional storyteller Anne McKee at 10 a.m. Afterward, bikes may be checked out free as usual.

There will be a free Kid Zone with children’s activities all day as well.

A sound system will play music throughout the day for those who want to use the park.

An event that is being brought back from several years ago is the Smoke on the Water cook-off. Cooks may enter in the categories of Boston butt, chicken, pork ribs or barbecue sauce. Judging will be on appearance, taste or flavor, tenderness and texture. Entries may be sauced or un-sauced. Cash prizes will be given.

The climax of the weekend will be a concert followed by fireworks.

Live music will begin at 7 p.m. with Southern Soul and Co. comprising native New Albanians and playing soulful hits of the ’60s, ‘70s and ’80s.

Grammy-nominated local musician Sam Mosley with the Mosley and Johnson Band and Muscle Shoals Horns will be the featured act.

Fireworks on the riverbank will conclude the weekend at 10 p.m.

Up-to-date information will be posted on I Love New Albany and New Albany Main Street social media pages. If you have any questions, contact the Community Development and Main Street office by calling 662-534-3438 or emailing

“These events are designed to bring locals out to enjoy their community and draw visitors from the region for overnight stays,” Stroud said. “Our desire is to see folks from near and far enjoying all that New Albany has to offer.”



7 p.m. – Shakespeare in the Park (Along the River) on the Riverview Stage


8 a.m. – Pedaling for Hope first ride with others following at 30-minute intervals between trailhead and welcome center.

10 a.m. – Storyteller Anne McKee at the Union County Library

Noon – Lunch for Pedaling for Hope riders at trail welcome center and library

4:30 p.m. – Turn-in time for Smoke on the Water barbecuing contest at the Park Along the River

7 p.m. – Southern Soul on the Riverview Stage

8:30 p.m. – Sam Mosley and the Muscle Shoals Horns on the Riverview Stage

10 p.m. – Fireworks on the riverbank in Tallahatchie Trails

All day – Bike check-outs at the library, free Kid Zone at the Park Along the River and music at the Park Along the River

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