Local performers will be the focus of the musical entertainment lineup for Apalachicola’s upcoming Independence Eve celebration.
The Sunday evening, July 3 event, which gets underway at 6 p.m. at Riverfront Park, will feature musicians from Franklin County.
“We’re excited to be highlighting so much local talent,” said Jim Bachrach, chairman of Apalachicola Main Street, the non-profit organization which organizes and funds the annual event. “It’s going to be really special.”
Flying Fish will get the music started at 6 p.m. when Jeff Dutrow, Tim Dutrow, and Robert E. Mason take the stage. Known for their covers of Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young, as well as their original song, “Apalachicola Bound,” the group, a frequent performer at Half Shell Dockside, describe their genre as “groovy music.”
The evening’s featured entertainment, performing for the second year at the event, is the Apalachicola Blues Authority featuring Bernard Simmons, an Apalachicola native, who has been playing guitar since age 12. He plays lead guitar, bass, and harmonica. The other band members hail from Crawfordville and include Aaron Shephard on guitar and keyboard, vocalist Willie Jefferson, and Jefferson’s grandson, Alundra Jefferson, on drums.
Simmons describes his set list as “happy music,” influenced by such stars as James Brown, Rod Stewart, and The Temptations. “We play Motown, ‘50s rock ‘n roll, blues, jazz, and even a little country. We bring something for everybody,” he said. “We feed off the audience. It’s exciting to see them having a good time. We’re a crowd-pleasing band that aims to please.”
St. George Island realtor Gordon Adkins, who moved to Franklin County 23 years ago, will perform an a capella solo of God Bless America. His performing background includes high school musicals, musical training at Iowa State University, college quartets, community theater, and church.
He often reflects on the young men who trained at Camp Gordon Johnston for amphibious assaults during World War II. “This may have been the last place in America they saw. So many of them lost their lives,” he said. “Our country is going through some very tough times, and I think it’s time to start singing this song a lot. It reminds us of how blessed we are to be here.”
The festivities culminate in an a capella performance of the National Anthem by downtown Apalachicola businesswoman Faith Lynch who served in the U.S Air Force. She was inspired by her father, a Navy veteran, singer and showman, who influenced her lifelong interest in the performing arts. “I’ve always been told that I was singing before I could walk,” she said.
Since moving to Apalachicola six years ago, she has been active with the Panhandle Players and Pam Nobles Dance Studio and co-directed the Apalachicola Bay Charter School’s talent show this year.
Following her performance, the area’s biggest fireworks show will light up the night sky. “We’ve enhanced the pyrotechnics even more since last year,” said Main Street’s Executive Director, Augusta West. “This is going to be our best show yet.”
Ten food trucks have been lined up to feed the crowd, which include ?Big Boi’s Roadside Grill & Seafood; The British Eatery; Crave; Dave’s Dawg House; The Mellow Mullet; SGI Food Truck; The Spice is Right; That’s What Cheese Said; RoRo’s Acai Bowls; Sippin’ Lemon.
Admission is free, and lawn chairs and picnic blankets are welcome. The entirety of the funding for the celebration is provided by sponsorships from businesses and families.
For more information or to reserve a table in the Sponsor’s Section, please visit www.july3fireworks.com.Or contact Augusta West, executive director of Apalachicola Main Street, at [email protected] or (844) 272-2523.