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story.lead_photo.caption Jason Bennett, left, dances Saturday with Cameron Stornello, right, during the Helen Russell & Company live performance at Russellville's Firework Show festivities. Bennett and Stornello were awarded the "Golden Throne Award," small, plastic golden toilets, for dancing in front of a crowd. Along with the live performance, a cornhole tournament, car show and multiple vendors were available for attendees. Photo by Greta Cross / News Tribune.

The smell of barbecue and sound of live country music filled the hot summer air as an attendee in a comically large, blue cowboy hat ran around the venue, riding a pink toy horse on a stick.

"Giddy up, giddy up," sang the musical duet, Helen Russell & Company, as attendee Jason Bennett joined Cameron Stornello in a silly impromptu dance performance.

Russellville's annual festival and fireworks show was Saturday, hosted by the Russellville Lions Club. This year's event was bigger than in previous years, Russellville Lions Club President Ben Mehrhoff said. This year, the club added vendors, a cornhole tournament and a car show.

Helen Russell & Company surprised Bennett and Stornello by awarding them with a "golden throne award" — a gold, toilet-shaped trophy.

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"It made my day," Bennett said.

Bennett decided to attend the event after a member of his newly formed Facebook group, "People Loving People," invited him.

"I came up to see her," he said. "And plus, I love being around folks, so whenever there's a group of people, I probably am going to be there."

Bennett said he enjoys spending time with people because talking, listening and having fun eases everyone's problems.

"Everybody is going through something, and the only way to do it, no matter how you feel, is to just give a smile, share some light and show some love, and it's going to make everything better around you," Bennett said.

As the performance continued, cornhole league players faced off nearby. Mid-Mo Cornhole league co-founder Brian Kendle planned the cornhole tournament for the festival after a Lions Club member asked if he would be interested.

Before Kendle began competing in cornhole tournaments with friends, he often played the game in his backyard.

"Then, I went to a tournament, and it kind of took off from there," he said.

Kendle said he enjoys competing in tournaments with Mid-Mo Cornhole — which consists of about 25 members — because it's a fun way to spend time with friends and meet new people.

The festival also included 14 vendors who sold a variety of products such as balloon animals, jewelry, home decor, ice cream and kettle corn. Next to the vendors, attendees viewed a variety of colorful, vintage cars at the car show and voted for the most original, most nostalgic and their favorite. The festivities — which began at 11 a.m. — continued into the night as people enjoyed the fireworks show and performance from rock band Whiskey Throttle.

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