This was former Three Rivers Mayor James Liska’s dream according to Executive Director of the Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce Murrell Foster. Liska said it was a shared dream between he and his wife, Shelley.
“We wanted to have a show that people would remember for the rest of their lives, and I think we did that with the fireworks and the bands; they will always remember it,” Liska said.
About 8,000 people attended the Three Rivers Centennial throughout the evening, with 5,000 in attendance during the grand finale Randy Rogers Band performance.
“I want to thank everyone for coming out, without them coming it’s not a celebration; it is the people that made the event in my opinion,” Liska said.
Festivities kicked off at 4 p.m. with carnival rides, food stands, beer tents and vendor booths.
Liska said Shelley Liska was a big supporter of providing carnival rides for the kids.
“We tried to get a bit of everything for everyone to make it a true family event from young to old,” Liska said.
“We tried to cover our bases because this is a one-shot deal; it’s the only time something of this magnitude being held in Three Rivers,” Foster said.
Local elected officials took to the stage at about 7 p.m. to speak about the town’s centennial anniversary.
Liska thanked the city staff for helping to make the celebration possible during his speech including Rosie Forehand, Rocky Mendez, Three Rivers Police Chief Vance Roberts, and Centennial Committee members Diana Kuenstler and Patty Reagan.
Speakers also included Live Oak County Commissioner Donna Mills, Judge Jim Huff, and state representative Ryan Guillian’s chief of staff, Reid Koenig.
Three Rivers resident Joe Burch was the first musician to hit the stage with his performance of the national anthem and two original songs, one about the history of Three Rivers and the other about the Eagle Ford Shale.
Ruben Salazar wasn’t just on the Centennial Committee’s sub-committee with responsibility for getting beer and a barbecue stand, he was also on the stage as lead singer of Ruben Salazar and el Groupo Patron. His band was next on the stage with the first round of dancers to hit the dance floor at about 7:30 p.m. Three Rivers High School graduate Gary Glenn and his band, Gary Glenn and the 20X Band were next on the stage before the fireworks started after sundown.
Liska said Richard and Robin Dockery allowed the city to launch the fireworks from their property so the crowd would have a good view of the display.
The dance floor was packed with the crowd standing shoulder-to-shoulder when the Randy Rogers Band took to the stage.
“What surprised me the most was the age of the crowd,” Foster said. “I knew they were young, but they were even younger than what I anticipated.”
The band performed until about midnight, video footage of the festivities can be seen at mysoutex.com.