Thousands gather at Darlington Raceway for Freedom Fest

If there were ever a place to host an Independence Day party, it would have to be the Lady in Black.

DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – If there were ever a place to host an Independence Day party, it would have to be the Lady in Black.

Darlington Raceway hosted Freedom Fest on Monday. Pee Dee folks did not let a little bit of rain stop them from celebrating their nation’s 240th birthday.

From the music to the food, there was a little bit of something for everyone at Freedom Fest. From the young to the young-at-heart, everyone was in the patriotic spirit at Monday’s festivities.

The event, sponsored by the Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce, featured a kid’s zone with inflatables, a car show, and hundreds of vendors selling food, clothing and more.

The Darlington County Sheriff’s bloodhound team was out in force both to show off their new toys and introduce the dogs to the people of Darlington.

Others came out to bring attention to causes close to their hearts. Congressional candidate and Coker College professor Mal Hyman came out to do what he could to register Darlington County residents to vote in the upcoming November elections.

“This is the people’s chance to decide how we wanna live,” Hyman said. “It’s vital for the future of the country as you look at this political crossroads. We’re encouraging people to register to vote, to read more, talk about it, and organize for candidates.”

For Chastity Todd, Independence Day takes on a special meaning in light of her work with a local non-profit that helps connect nurses and first-time mothers.

“We’re celebrating our freedom…the freedom of our country,” Todd explained. “Today we’re also celebrating these mothers and freeing them up to be whomever they want to be in life.”

At the POW/MIA table, the Independence Day theme aims to bring home those lost in America’s wars. On the banner–the names of prisoners of war and those missing action–many from the Pee Dee area.

“We left 493 Vietnam Veterans behind when we left in 1975,” explained Susan Bilsky of The Ride Home.  “We have not forgotten them. We will never forget them.”

Organizers with Freedom Fest told News 13 that as expected, the event was a great success. Those who came out–visitors and vendors alike–are already looking forward to the 2017 edition.


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