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Decatur Celebration

Decatur Celebration is Aug. 3-5 in downtown Decatur.

DECATUR — Decatur Celebration admission will be $10 this year in advance, double the $5 cost last year. This is the second year admission has been charged for the formerly free festival amid what organizers are rising costs.

Here are five things we have learned about tickets, finances and entertainment for the 33rd Decatur Celebration, which is Aug. 3-5:

Ticket prices going up

General admission tickets are $10 to buy online this year, plus a $2 service fee per ticket. They'll also be sold at local businesses, and officials hope to have that information available next week. Details will be announced on the Decatur Celebration Facebook page and at

Purchases at the gates will be $15. Children 12 and younger are free. VIP packages this year range from $50 to $150. Wristbands to last year's event cost $5 in advance and $8 at the gate. 

Tight finances

The Herald & Review last month reported the 2017 festival made $960,000 in admission fees, commissions, sponsorships and fundraising.

The event also cost $964,000 to produce, according to the financial records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request to the city of Decatur, which has provided police and public works employees at an estimated cost of $70,000. 

The financials show Celebration has had six years of operating losses.

Fence grows

This will be the second year for a fenced-in Decatur Celebration with select entry points. It was a change organizers said was necessary to charge admission and raise money for the event.

This year, the carnival will be within the fenced perimeter and not free from the separate entry charge. The carnival will not have a specific entry point since it is now included within the fence.

Entertainment lineup

This year's lineup includes country artist Gretchen Wilson, rapper T.I. and rock band Daughtry. The Christian artists Crowder and Jonathan McReynolds also are playing, as well as various regional bands.

Sixty food items, three blocks of arts and crafts, a wine and beer garden and a kids block also are returning. The event also supports numerous nonprofit organizations that work during the weekend. 


"It is still a nominal fee with the caliber of artists we have." - Lori Sturgill, Decatur Celebration producer

“We are trying to stay alive. Last year, we didn’t make money. We didn’t even break even.” - Jeff Ludwick, Decatur Celebration board president

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