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ALTON - Mac’s in Downtown Alton has hosted many Kentucky Derby Days over the years, but the one this past Saturday may have been one of the most important as it was a signal of the COVID-19 Pandemic easing around the region.

Last year, Mac’s operated at a small capacity for Derby Day because of the outbreak of COVID-19. Many have been vaccinated and felt comfortable turning out this year for the Derby Party.

Rob Lenhardt, of Mac’s, said Saturday was a good day for Mac’s and also for Downtown Alton.

“All the businesses in Downtown Alton benefited from it,” he said of Mac’s Derby Day celebration. “Last year, we ran about 30 percent of what we typically do and this year we were close to 85-90 percent of previous Kentucky Derby Days so this year it was almost back to normal.”

Melissa Clark, bartender and Mac’s, said it was an exciting day for the Mac’s staff. “We had local bands that consisted of Whiskey Dixon, The Glendale Riders and Flatliners. We had beer tents, great food and a full screen up for the race. It was a lot of fun and good for the economy and the area, too.”

Jeny Lewis was interviewed at the Derby event and said: “Everybody was out having a good time. It was fnally nice to see everybody out and everybody dressed up in their pretty hats and pretty dresses for the derby on a beautiful spring day.”

Dawn Wilson was one of those dressed in a Kentucky Derby hat and dress.

“It is the first event we have been out to be together like this and it was just enjoyable to see friends, family and enjoy good food,” she said. “We really enjoyed it.”

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