Jo Dee Messina rocks the crowd during Satruday’s SunFest finale. Organizers estimate 3,500 to 4,000 people attended the concert, which also featured locals Cheri Edwards, Sid Phelps and Rexton Lee. | Kenneth Boone
Jo Dee Messina rocks the crowd during Satruday’s SunFest finale. Organizers estimate 3,500 to 4,000 people attended the concert, which also featured locals Cheri Edwards, Sid Phelps and Rexton Lee. | Kenneth Boone

Archived Story

Concert, fireworks close successful SunFest

Published 10:19am Wednesday, July 31, 2013

After months of planning, the first ever SunFest was held last week in Alexander City.
Ann Rye, president of the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce, said it was hard to predict whether the event would be accepted, but she feels good about the inaugural run.
“I think we didn’t go into it with many expectations so anything we saw was going to be a positive,” Rye said. “ I think it absolutely was a tremendous success.”
Rye said the event was more than just a string of fun events.
“There was a lot more to it than that,” Rye said. “It was about bringing people together and tearing down boundaries.”
Rye said she was pleased by the amount of cooperation she saw among the community, especially among businesses.
“A lot of people came together, even within the business community where boundaries can exist sometimes,” Rye said. “I saw people working hand in hand to make sure an event came together. There were a lot of people that became heroes last week making sure all the details were figured out.”
Rye was also pleased to see the amount of children lending a hand.

“That doesn’t happen in a lot of communities,” Rye said. “I had children hanging out at the chamber. Most children don’t even know what a chamber of commerce is, much less hang out there.”
As for the grand finale, Rye said she was hoping for a larger turnout but was satisfied with the amount that showed up.
“For a first year for an event that was non-alcoholic, I think we did a great job,” Rye said.
Rye said 3,500 to 4,000 people attended the concert.
There has been hardly time to take a breath of fresh air, but Rye said they are already thinking about next year. Since this year’s festival was planned start to finish in only a few months, Rye is looking forward to having more time to gear up for next year’s event.
“We have all the tools to work with now, we just have to tweak them,” Rye said.
As for future events, Rye said many citizens asked her about the potential for bringing higher-profile performers. Rye said “that is just not concept of SunFest.”
“The talent will always be a phenomenal entertainer in a budget we can afford – the idea is to never charge more than $15 a ticket,” Rye said. “We will continue to look for talent that is strong and still making new music, but it will probably never be the newest performer out there.”
Rye thanked all those who made this year a success.
“The chamber doesn’t deserve credit – it was the hard work of individuals, businesses, the city and the state, and believing in the concept that made SunFest great,” Rye said.

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