Freedom Fest highlights the lakefront’s potential

Nicholas Delaureal

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This year’s third annual Freedom Fest at the Lake, held at the lakefront in Kenner, kicked off Labor Day festivities in Jefferson Parish with the event’s largest attendee turnout in history.

Festival goers camped around the stage, eagerly awaiting each act, while others chose to picnic by the lake.

Many local politicians and candidates appeared at the event to mingle with their constituents and raise awareness for the upcoming election on Oct. 12.

For Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn, the event is all about giving back to the people.

“It shows that the people of Kenner, the people of the surrounding area, they enjoy coming here and seeing what we can do here and we work hard at it,” he said.

Jefferson Parish Councilman Paul D. Johnston described the festival as being great for the community, bringing in visitors from outside the area to come and enjoy themselves.

“That’s the main thing — bring the tourism and the economic development of the community,” he said. “We got all these businesses out here that are selling stuff, people making money on a Sunday, and that’s the greatest thing.”

Local songbird and current Loyola student, Jenna Hunts, opened the festival with the national anthem before taking command of the stage. Her powerful vocals and catchy hooks hooked the local crowd.

Next up was John Schneider, best known for his roles as “Bo” Duke in “The Dukes of Hazzard” and as Johnathan Kent in “Smallville.” Schneider played a laid back set peppered with jokes and anecdotes to complement his musical styling.

Canadian country duo High Valley played an extended set that showcased their range from slow ballads to banjo-picking bluegrass. They kept the energy high, throwing t-shirts to spectators.

To cap off the event, Clint Black took the stage and closed the festival with soulful renditions of his classics.

With the third annual Freedom Fest now in the books, Zahn has his sights set on new development for the lakefront.

“We are working to make sure that we can do something that gets us a boardwalk out here. Some restaurant styles, something that puts you in the mind of when you go to downtown Disney,” he said. “That shopping, eating experience and also entertainment at the same time.”

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