STAFF NOTEBOOK: Liberty Hill had a blast at City Park

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The Liberty Hill Independent was recognized by the Liberty Hill City Council Monday for its efforts to organize the Liberty Hill Independence Day Spectacular July 2 at City Park. Mayor Connie Fuller (right) presented Owner/Publisher Shelly Wilkison with a framed commemorative event poster on behalf of the Council.  (Courtesy Photo)

The Liberty Hill Independent was recognized by the Liberty Hill City Council Monday for its efforts to organize the Liberty Hill Independence Day Spectacular July 2 at City Park. Mayor Connie Fuller (right) presented Owner/Publisher Shelly Wilkison with a framed commemorative event poster on behalf of the Council. (Courtesy Photo)

By Shelly Wilkison

An estimated 2,000 people celebrated Independence Day at City Park on July 2. Some say that the 30-minute fireworks display was more impressive than the shows put on by our big-city neighbors that weekend, and that just brings the biggest smiles to those who worked tirelessly to do something special for Liberty Hill.

But it wasn’t just the promise of a spectacular fireworks show that brought families to the park that evening. It was something bigger than the food trucks, the attractions, the music and the contests.

It was the idea that in the midst of incredible growth in our community, we’re still small enough to bring the kids to the park on a summer evening, meet friends and neighbors and simply enjoy each other’s company.

We had a vision for the event that was shared by our sponsors. Pastor Stephen Apt was the first to jump in backed by the excitement of the Peace Lutheran Church congregation and volunteers.

When we brought the idea to City Hall, we were encouraged by city staff and elected officials who agreed with us that the time was right for Liberty Hill to have its own Independence Day celebration.

Then, to help pay for attractions and activities, we sought additional sponsors and engaged Liberty Parke developers Randy Rollo and Todd McCullough. They were excited to be part of our hometown party.

The newspaper then reached out to some of our advertisers who jumped at the opportunity to be involved in something so big, so memorable.

Special appreciation goes to Widmer Construction & Development, J&Z Auto Works, Rick Hall – US Health Advisors, Dahlia Cafe, John Clark/Farmers Insurance, P&R Propane, Moore Liberty Buildings, Research Pest Control, Riata Roofing, Ski’s Plumbing, the Liberty Hill Chamber of Commerce, Mathis Rentals, H-E-B Plus Leander, ACA Appliance, Clawson Disposal, Bounce It Out and Freedom Mobile Entertainment.

Our sponsors agreed with us that everything should be free, with the exception of food and drinks. We decided that it was Operation Liberty Hill that should benefit from any fundraising.

OLH Executive Director Susan Baker said Wednesday that attendees had donated 622 snack items for the Kids Summer Snack Program. Additionally, 130 food pantry items were collected, as well as 11 box fans.

The charity also collected about $1,200 in cash donations.

Baker added that Evelyn Page, who won a laptop computer from the Liberty Hill Chamber of Commerce, donated it to OLH.

We’re proud of the fact that the newspaper did not go to the City Council hat in hand and ask taxpayers to subsidize the event. In the end, city government used its resources to clean up City Park prior to the event, and rented message boards to place on SH 29 to manage traffic flow. Liberty Hill Police helped direct traffic in and out of the park.

We also paid Liberty Hill ISD to provide bus transportation from the high school to the park.

A lot of effort went into organizing and marketing the event, but the real hero in all of this is Katie Amsler, advertising director for The Independent. She was the energy and enthusiasm behind it all, and made everything fall into place.

Get ready for a bigger blast in July 2017.

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