The sounds of a new beginning

Pauls Valley's annual Fourth of July festivities coming this summer will again have the sounds of a now familiar stage show as the opening act.

The Opry in the Park show will again come to life for the sixth straight year after the PV City Council voted last week to follow the recommendations of the tourism board and support the event.

The support comes in the form of $6,130 in tourism monies being approved to help fund the free outdoor show coming to the Wacker Park Bandshell the night before the Independence Day fireworks.

For council members it was pretty much a no-brainer as the event has proven to bring in lots of out-of-town visitors, which they say fits in nicely as more and more people are starting get out and about during a spring season that's also a kind of virus pandemic recovery period.

“It's a true new beginnings for everyone to get out,” said Eric Smith.

“It think it's wonderful to have this right before our July 4th festival.”

This year's opry show in the local park is set for Saturday night, July 3 followed the next day by July 4th festivities, which this year is partnering with the Love PV Festival meant to raise money to provide school supplies to Pauls Valley and Whitebead students.

The tradition of a fireworks show will again cap off the holiday up in the skies above Pauls Valley.

“It's something we've done for a few years – this will be sixth annual one,” Woodie Hill said about the opry show outside.

“It will be another outdoor concert like what we've had in the past. It does get people out. It might make a good weekend with the Fourth of July the next day.”

Woodie and Becky Hill attended council and tourism board meetings to answer any questions before the funding approvals were given.

Both agreed most people attending last year's show did spread out in small groups throughout the park during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Last year they sat in groups, and they were social distancing. People looked to be sitting around with their families during the show,” Woodie said.

“We had four or five people thank us last year for having the concert. People are ready to just get out and do something.”

Even though the same pandemic-related precautions won't be in place this year anyone attending is encouraged to continue social distancing.

Vendors are expected to available serving drinks and maybe even food trucks this time around.

Just last month the council approved $24,500 in tourism funds for a Love PV and July 4th festival.

The process for both funding approvals started with a presentation to the Pauls Valley Tourism Board.

The most recent meeting on April 6 was the last one for both Jeff Paine and Kathy Tillery as ordinances allow members to serve no more than two consecutive five-year terms.

City Manager James Frizell offered his thanks for the work they've done during their tenures as volunteers on the tourism board.

“I certainly appreciate it. We all thank you for what you've done,” he said.

•••

A brief discussion was held at the April 13 meeting on an Oklahoma Natural Gas renewal agreement coming up later this year in Pauls Valley.

Local voters approved a similar agreement in 1996 for a 25-year period.

The agreement allowing ONG to distribute natural gas in Pauls Valley will be on a July ballot for local voters.

• The council approved a payment to Dennis Whitehouse, who paid to have a new fence placed that is shared with the local airport and golf course.

The new fence cost nearly $21,000 as the council agreed with Frizell that some reimbursement, specifically half the total cost, was needed for Whitehouse.

“It really makes both sides look better,” Frizell said. “I believe this as a win-win for both sides.”

• A fee change was approved as a way of trying to bring more senior citizens out to one of Pauls Valley's lakes.

At the recommendation of the local lake board the new fee for seniors is $12 a night, Sunday through Wednesday, for full recreational vehicle hook-up for camping. The former fee was $18 a night with a $2 discount.

• Last week's meeting was also the last one for Patrick Grimmett, who steps down after serving eight years.

Jocelyn Rushing will remain serving as PV's mayor, while Bonnie Meisel is the new vice mayor.

Jonathan Grimmett was sworn into his first term as new terms also began for Meisel, Eric Smith and Chip Pearson.

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