LIVINGSTON — Intermittent rain on Saturday failed to dampen the spirits of several hundred area residents who gathered at Sartwell Memorial Park to observe the nation’s birthday with live music, free food and traditional family games.

Town of Livingston Mayor J. T. Taylor said he and the town council, along with volunteers, had planned for the event for two months and made the decision to go ahead with the festivities no matter the weather. Taylor said local residents and businesses had donated $7,000 in cash, goods and services to put on the festival, and the decision was made to celebrate the day despite the rain in appreciation for the generosity of those who made the donations.

“I want to thank all who volunteered their time and who made donations so that we could come together as a community and remember the birthday of our great nation," Taylor said. "The rain hasn’t stopped our festival. We can’t do much about the weather … but everyone is having a good time, and we are already looking forward to next year.”

Those attending the gathering were treated to free hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and beverages. Local merchants donated a large number of prizes, and festival visitors were invited to put their names down in hopes of winning a prize at the free drawings. Krystal Stewart, working the table where the prizes were displayed, said that within the first hour of the festival more than 100 had already signed up for the prize drawings.

Visitors to the event huddled under pop-up tents and around the covered concession stand and showed their appreciation for the music provided by the Bayou Honey Band with applause. Children participating in the balloon toss, sack races and kick ball contests ignored the rain as they pursued the games seeking to win prizes and bragging rights. A watermelon-eating contest drew numerous eager eaters.

Robert Stewart, a member of the Town Council who serves as Mayor Pro Tem, was busy passing out hamburgers and hot dogs most of the day. "Everyone seems to be having a good time," he said. "A big group of volunteers are busy passing out the free hot dogs and hamburgers and other treats and the more we give out the more fun we are having. It’s nice to see our citizens come together to mark this happy day in our nation’s history.”