OAKBORO — Despite the cancelation of the 62nd annual Oakboro 4th of July Celebration, the town had no shortage of patriotic spirit on Saturday.
The “Oakboro Freedom Convoy” and “Oakboro Freedom Concert” each brought locals and visitors to downtown Oakboro to celebrate Independence Day, providing a sense of continuity with traditional holiday events.
Organized by Zach Helms of Locust and advertised through a Facebook page, the Saturday morning convoy had an estimated participant count of 162 vehicles.
Helms told SCJ that when he came up with a plan for the convoy, he was expecting a low-key affair and a small gathering of around 20 vehicles. Though he received some pushback from local officials regarding safety concerns, Helms said he had no intentions of backing down from his idea.
“It was really great — I didn’t expect that kind of turnout. We never really knew what we were going to have as far as the type of vehicles and crowd,” Helms said. “It was really cool to see all the antique cars, trucks and horses. It was really heartwarming to see that many people come together for a good cause. We tried to make it as normal as possible and a thing where we said, ‘We’re just here to celebrate our day’.”
Many of the vehicles driving through Oakboro’s Main Street advertised political attire and flags for President Donald Trump’s re-election and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s gubernatorial bid.
Side streets were lined with parked cars, and sidewalks were filled with chairs in a gathering that strongly resembled the usual July 4 parade crowd.
“It really blew up, and it was amazing,” Helms said. “It gives me a good feeling and some hope that our country is still united despite everything going on and that we can we come together for one cause.”
Over at Main Street Cup and Cone, Oakboro’s ice cream and coffee shop, live music and food trucks brought people together from 2 p.m. until the fireworks show began at 10 p.m.
The “Oakboro Freedom Concert” featured a collection of local artists, including Evan Marker, Dustin Curlee, Scott and Mason Gardner, and Jody and Joanna. The musicians were set up under a canopy tent in the parking lot between Main Street Cup and Cone and NAPA Auto Parts.
Hilltop Seafood Co., A Pinch of Soul and Hot Mess Express were among the various food trucks available for customers, who were able to set up chairs and enjoy the food and live music throughout the afternoon.
“Just wanted to say thank you for everyone that came out and celebrated the 4th with The Cup and Cone!” the business posted on its Facebook page Sunday. “It was a safe event and the music was incredible! Thank you to all the bands, the food trucks, and all of you that decided to join us!”
Yesterday, Main Street Cup and Cone officially opened up its Locust store, located at 243 Market St. across from street from the Medical Pharmacy of Locust.