Freedom Fest: Fort Rucker celebrates independence
Fireworks explode above Fort Rucker at last year's Freedom Fest. This year's Wiregrass Freedom Fest will be July 3 from 4"11:30 p.m. at the Festival Fields

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 13, 2013) -- Food, fun and fireworks will be the name of the game at the Wiregrass Freedom Fest this year when thousands of people gather on Fort Rucker to celebrate the nation's inception.

The annual event, which is now a partnership between Fort Rucker, Daleville, Dothan, Ozark and Enterprise, is scheduled to be held at the Fort Rucker Festival Fields on July 3 from 4-11:30 p.m., and will feature food vendors, games, inflatables and live music, said Annette Styron, plans and operations specialist with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.

"There will be more than 50 vendors offering a variety of merchandise, food and information," said Styron. "People should bring their lawn chairs or a blanket, and kick back and enjoy the celebration."

Funnel cakes, hotdogs, hamburgers, turkey legs, nachos, cotton candy, popcorn and boiled peanuts are among some of the food choices that people will be able to enjoy, she added.

"Wiregrass Freedom Fest is a celebration for our entire community," said Janice Erdlitz, Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation marketing director. "When we look around at our neighbors around the Wiregrass, we look forward to this day when we invite everyone out to celebrate our nation's independence."

The event will also include a display with the National Guard NASCAR and Indy cars, and children will be able to participate in the U.S. Army Warrant Officer Candidate School confidence course and Inflatable Fun World with slides, bouncy houses and more, said Styron.

Before the fireworks display, the 98th Army "Silver Wings" Band will take to the stage with a special guest vocalist, McKayla Reece, who will perform a tribute to fallen heroes by singing "Heaven was Needing a Hero."

After Reece's performance, the band will follow up with a patriotic concert before fireworks light up the night sky.

"The fireworks are spectacular under the Alabama stars," said Erdlitz. "I think (Freedom Fest) has the ability to pull at our patriotic heart strings, and it's an event like no other with thousands of people joining together to enjoy the splendors of all things that make our nation so great."

There will also be an area where small American flags will adorn a section of the festival fields as a reminder to those that attend that freedom isn't free, she said.

"It's a solemn reminder of the sacrifices made by (Soldiers and Families) from Alabama and northwest Florida," said Styron. "This is meant to pay a tribute to fallen service members and honor their surviving Families."

Stryon said that people coming onto the installation should remember to bring proper identification, proof of insurance and vehicle registration when coming through the gates, and that people should plan to come early to avoid traffic.

"All normal traffic laws are enforced, however, the flow of traffic may be different due to several road closures at various times throughout the day," she said. "Everyone should also anticipate some traffic delays due to the large number of people exiting the installation (at the end of the celebration)."

There are a few items that people will not be allowed to bring onto Fort Rucker for the safety of all in attendance, which include: weapons of any kind, explosives, fireworks, coolers, tote bags, backpacks or containers, with exceptions for medical and baby care items. Also, no glass containers, pets, roller blades, bicycles, skateboards or scooters, added Styron.

"Come out and enjoy the show, enjoy your friends around you, and remember that freedom isn't free," she said.

Page last updated Thu June 13th, 2013 at 00:00