It was nothing but a good time at Madisonville City Park Friday as 4th Fest kicked off its 10th year.
The free, three-day event is always a good time, but this year especially. The Hopkins County community has been cooped up for 18 months, so to be able to get out, be with family and friends and celebrate the holiday, the festival means that much more.
Event-goers made their way over to the many food trucks and vendors taking part and by the time the first act took the stage, the field was packed with people eager to welcome back the first big event in Madisonville since the pandemic started.
And while fun, food and pandemic freedom were enough for people to head out, there was really one main thing drawing crowds in.
“Bret Michaels!" sisters Jamah Campbell and Tasha Brasher enthusiastically yelled out in unison.
That’s right. Former Poison frontman Bret Michaels took the stage Friday night as the headline act, and to say people were excited would be an understatement.
“Oh my gosh, you have no idea," megafan Jasmine Galore said.
She said she biked her way over to the festival with such an urgency, she had a few mishaps and suffered some scrapes and bruises. She, like so many others, showed up just to watch Michaels perform.
“Since my mom had introduced it to me when I was younger and ever since then, I have been in love with their music," Galore said. "It’s really been a huge part of my life.”
One couple drove over from Greenville and arrived at around 2:30 p.m., thirty minutes before the main stage gates opened at 3 p.m.
“When we heard Bret Michaels, we said 'we’re going,'" Amy Beavin and Chris Markwell said. "He left work early, I left work early. We’re not gonna miss Bret Michaels.”
Because as they said, seeing a rock legend in Western Kentucky isn’t something you see every day.
“We’re just gonna go up front when he comes out and I’m gonna be doing this," Beavin said as she fluffed out her hair. "And I hope that he zones in on me and be like 'hey!'”
If you didn’t make it out Friday, you can still catch great music and food Saturday and Sunday, and in true Fourth of July fashion, each night will close out with a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m.