In 1986, Councilman John V. Lawson conferred w/ Representative Sam Mitchell in reference to building an open amphitheater in addition to the present stage erected in 1983. Mr. Mitchell agreed and requested that Mr. Lawson return if he was elected as Mayor.
John V. Lawson was elected as Mayor in July of 1987 and promptly returned to the office of Sam Mitchell. Engineers soon began to draw plans and the new Amphitheaters cost was estimated at $175,000. Several letters from local businessmen, community leaders, & civic organizations were collected. Mr. Mitchell presented all of the acquired information to numerous representatives and Senators. The Representatives and Senators felt that it would be beneficial for the City of DeFuniak Springs to have an amphitheater. The Senate and House of Representatives appropriated the funds for building and the governor signed off on the appropriation.
The Amphitheater was completed in 1988, with a seating capacity of 1,371. The lighting was also significantly improved during this time and the P/A system was replaced in the mid 1990's. Several events are hosted at the Amphitheater including: Fundraisers, weddings, plays, church services, concerts, political rallies, birthday parties, etc.
John V. Lawson passed away on November 22, 2004. On December 14, 2004, the city council voted to name this structure the John V. Lawson Amphitheater in recognition of his faithful service to the community.