Evansville Freedom Festival relinquishes event The Evansville Freedom Festival Board of Directors has sent a short press release, relinquishing the organization's responsibilities for the riverfront event including the Thunder on the Ohio ...
Evansville Freedom Festival relinquishes event
The Evansville Freedom Festival Board of Directors has sent a short press release, relinquishing the organization's responsibilities for the riverfront event including the Thunder on the Ohio unlimited hydroplane race.
"We are saddened and surprised by this sudden announcement regarding the Freedom Festival and the announcement regarding its volunteer Board of Directors. The news came without notice and much detail," said Sam Cole, the ABRA Chairman. "We are committed to Evansville and Thunder on the Ohio, which has been a mainstay on the Unlimited circuit for almost 30 years."
"At this point, we want to fully understand the ramifications of the announcement and begin immediate communications with the city and community leaders to assess the situation."
Evansville has had issues before but in each case, the Freedom Festival organizers were able to save the event.
"We are confident that discussions with the appropriate entities will lead to a return in 2009," added Cole. "This race was begun by the late, great Bill Muncey, O.H. Frisbie and Atlas Van Lines back in 1978 and we will do everything possible to preserve the tradition that has brought Thunder to the Ohio River and Evansville each year."
Evansville replaced Owensboro, Kentucky, on the Unlimited hydroplane calendar in 1979. Evansville, Indiana, is the world headquarters of Atlas World Group which sponsored Muncey's race team the Atlas Van Lines. Muncey played a major role in Evansville being awarded its first sanction.
"Thunder On The Ohio" has been an Unlimited mainstay for 28 consecutive years.
The 725 Cubic Inch Class boats, the forerunners of the modern Unlimited hydros, raced at Evansville in 1938-39-40.
"Ideal Evansville" has established itself as one of Unlimited racing's most important venues with superb spectator viewing areas. Historically, most of the world speed records for 2-mile courses have been set on Evansville's sporty tri-oval.
Having hosted its first Thunderboat classic in 1938, only two current race sites pre-date Evansville, Indiana. Madison, Indiana, conducted its first major event in 1929 and Detroit, Michigan, debuted in 1916.
PRESS RELEASE FROM EVANSVILLE FREEDOM FESTIVAL
The Freedom Festival Board of Directors has voted to relinquish the organizational responsibilities for Evansville's annual signature riverfront event.
The board held considerable discussion in order to reach the decision to end its role in planning and presenting the Freedom Festival. They carefully weighed the increasing demands of securing adequate sponsorship funding and handling the extensive planning details for the event that has gained national attention and attracted tens of thousands of people to Evansville each year. The all-volunteer board, each with full-time jobs and family obligations were assisted by hundreds of volunteers who helped stage the annual event.
"Putting on a quality event of this size with the type of attractions that the public expects simply proved to be an enormous challenge for a relatively small group of very dedicated volunteers," said Scott Hinton, the 2008 board president. "The Freedom Festival has grown to the point that full-time planning and staffing is needed and we realize as an all-volunteer board, we can no longer effectively meet the obligations," added Hinton.