HALEYVILLE - Emergency first responders are again the focus of the City of Haleyville’s annual 9-1-1 festival Friday, June 3, and Saturday, June 4 - promising all of the activities people have come to expect while honoring the first-ever 9-1-1 call made in the city 54 years ago.
Around 1 p.m. Friday, arts, crafts and food vendors will begin setting up on Main Street and in the downtown area, where some streets will be blocked to through traffic.
The vendors will open at 3 p.m., with the Kids Zone, featuring a moon jump, slide, obstacle course and more, opening at 5 p.m.
Another highlight at 5 p.m. will be the beginning of a line up of top-notch entertainment on the main stage behind the Haleyville Public Library and Dixie Theater. Thousands of people annually fill the parking lot for what has become the largest gathering in any one spot durning the two-day festival. Kicking off the live entertainment will be Drumb and Drumber, followed by the Whiskey River Band at 6:15 p.m.
At 7:30 p.m., first responders will receive special awards on stage. Mayor Ken Sunseri wants the public attending the festival to understand the true reason the 9-1-1 Festival is held.
“The 9-1-1 festival is our opportunity to recognize the outstanding work of our first responders,” Sunseri pointed out. “We appreciate the dispatchers, the police
department, fire department, rescue squad and all other departments that respond to emergencies.
“They are the lifeline for our community under extreme circumstances,” he continued. “We celebrate being the first 9-1-1 system in America.
America’s first emergency 9-1-1 call was made in Haleyville, February 16, 1968.
“There are now over 400 million 9-1-1 calls made in the United States yearly,” said Sunseri. “We also recognize that dispatchers are now classified as first responders, not as clerical workers.”
After first responders are honored, the next performer will be Haleyville’s own Reid Haughton at 8 p.m. This year’s headline act, taking the stage at 9:30 p.m., will be award-winning country crossover artist Sara Evans.
Events and activities continue into Saturday, June 4, with arts, crafts and food vendors along Main Street and downtown opening their booths at 8 a.m., followed by the Kids Zone opening at 9 a.m.
Mandy Little, 9-1-1 festival committee member in charge of vendors, noted that 79 booths have been rented, including 49 arts and crafts, as well as non-profit organizations and businesses. The remaining vendors will be selling food. All spaces were taken.
“Every year it grows, which is wonderful,” Little stated. “Every year, we have more and more. This year, we are (at the max). This is the earliest we have ever maxed out.”
Little encouraged the public to come out and take part in the wide variety of activities at the festival.
“It’s a time for Haleyville to get together,” Little pointed out.
Line-up for the parade, which will feature Haleyville High School alumni and first responders, will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Haleyville City Schools elementary and high school parking lots.
The parade will travel down 20th Street, pick up the Haleyville High School Roaring Lion Band at First Baptist Church, continue through downtown, drop off the band at the church parking lot and continue back to the school campus.
After the parade, the alumni luncheon will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the elementary cafetorium.
9-1-1 Festival Committee member Kris Burleson organizes the hospitality area for festival sponsors.
“We want to make sure everyone is accommodated,” said Burleson. “Haleyville and the sponsors have been so supportive of our festival, and we just want them to know how much we appreciate all they do for us.”
Burleson is also overseeing the first responder awards to be given out Friday night.
“It is what this festival was built around,” Burleson said. “We don’t want to ever lose sight of how important our first responders are to us.”
Committee member Jade Bice noted they are anticipating the largest 9-1-1 festival in history.
“We have a lot of people that want to come and be a part of our festival,” said Bice. “We are excited about our sponsors this year. We’ve had the best fundraising we have ever had.”
9-1-1 T-shirts on sale
T-shirts commemorating the 2022 9-1-1 festival are currently on sale at First National Bank. The cost is $20 per shirt.
“It’s a great way for individuals to support our festival,” Bice said.
new to festival
New to the festival this year will be live entertainment on the stage at the new downtown pocket park, which is located across from the Dixie Theater.
“We’ve been working on this for probably two years,” added Burleson. “We wanted to see something happen with that piece of property, something that would benefit our community.”
Car show benefits Haleyville COT
auto tech program
Registration for the annual car show, which will benefit the auto technology department at the Haleyville Center of Technology, will begin at 8 a.m. at the parking area behind the library and theater, noted auto tech instructor Steven Howard. The registration fee is $20 per car.
The event will conclude at 1 p.m., at which time special awards will be given out, including Best Hot Rod, Show Truck, Muscle Car, Cruiser, Motorcycle, Overall, Most Unique, Skills USA Club Choice, People’s Choice, Teachers Choice and O’Reilly’s Choice Also, door prizes will be given out each hour during the event, Howard stated.
Last year’s car show featured dozens of entries, with hopes this year of having at least 100, Howard said. The auto tech program usually receives up to $1,500 each year from the show, he added. That money is placed into the club’s account and used for competitions and related expenses, according to Howard.
The car show is sponsored by O’Reilly Auto Parts, which donates all the trophies, Howard Family Dentistry and Ward’s Wrecker Service.
The annual tractor show, sponsored by Cox Farm Supply, will again benefit the FFA or agriscience program at the Haleyville COT, noted John Cox with Cox Farm Supply.
Registration begins at 7 a.m.on 10th Avenue beside the downtown park and Hometown Cleaners. No entry fee will be required, but donations will be accepted for the FFA program, Cox said.
Each year, 25-40 tractors of all varieties are on display at the east side of 10th Avenue near Main Street.
The tractors will be displayed until between 11:30 a.m.- noon, when awards will be given out at the covered area in front of the cleaners, Cox added. These awards include Oldest, Working Man’s Tractor, Best of Show, Mayor’s Choice, Johnny Cash award for “sexiest tractor,” Best Classic Lawn Mower and Best Classic Engine, Cox stated.
“Come out and support these guys and help support our local FFA,” Cox said.
Registration for the annual cornhole tournament will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, in front of Haleyville City Hall. The actual tournament begins at 11 a.m.
At the parking lot on the opposite side of city hall will be a display of fire trucks and other emergency responder vehicles near the safe center.
Haleyville’s ladder truck will be set up at the west end of main street to spray water for the children near the Kids Zone, organizers said.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.