By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterJune 29, 2017
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker will let freedom ring June 30 with music, food, entertainment, fireworks and more during Freedom Fest at the post festival fields.
Shane Owens, country music artist, is a late addition to what is annually one of the largest celebrations in the area, according to Katie Oskey, Fort Rucker Directorate of Family, and Morale, Welfare and Recreation recreation delivery system program manager.
This year's event will run from 4-10 p.m. and feature live music, food vendors and activities for family members to enjoy -- from static displays to rides for children, she said.
"This is a great event to bring your family to," she said. "There are a lot of different food vendors out there, activities for the kids, and it's a safe, fun environment for everyone to enjoy."
"It's a wonderful opportunity to show your support for Fort Rucker," added Janice Erdlitz, Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation marketing director. "Freedom Fest is a celebration for our entire community. When we look around at our neighbors across the Wiregrass, we look forward to this day when we invite everyone out to celebrate our nation's independence with us at Fort Rucker."
The celebration is open to the public and people are invited to enjoy the festivities that will include a Kids Zone for children, complete with inflatables and rides, said Oskey. Armbands for the Kids Zone can be purchased for $10 with each additional band costing $8, which includes unlimited rides and inflatable access.
In addition to the Kids Zone, the Warrant Officer Career College obstacle course will return, giving children the chance to test their mettle as they climb, jump and swing through the course.
The official opening remarks will begin at 7 p.m. followed by live performances from the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence rock band out of Fort Benning, Georgia, as well as the Fort Rucker detachment's rock band, Crossfire, said Staff Sgt. William Peters, NCO in charge and drummer for Crossfire.
There will also be a special guest performance by country music artist, Shane Owens, who will perform a patriotic tribute, as well as performances by the Enterprise State Community College Entertainers.
The band and musical guests will perform from 7-9 p.m. and feature music from different genres, including rock, funk and a bit of country, said Peters, during a show that promises keep people moving in their seats.
"We're just looking to put on a good performance, especially since it's the 4th of July and we'll be celebrating our Independence Day," said the NCOIC. "Our goal is to put on something that everyone can appreciate as we celebrate the holiday."
Following the performances, the Fort Rucker skies will ignite in a colorful display of one of the largest fireworks shows in the area to the sounds of patriotic music.
People must have a valid ID and visitor's pass to access the installation, which can be obtained from one of two visitor control centers at the Daleville and Ozark gates. People are reminded that the VCCs will not be open on the day of the event.
The Daleville VCC is open Mondays-Sundays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the Ozark VCC is open Mondays-Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Visitors to the installation are also reminded to park in the areas designated for the gate they entered through.
"Ensure when you arrive on Fort Rucker that you park in the parking area for the gate you wish to exit from when the fireworks are complete," said Marcel Dumais, Fort Rucker chief of police. "As an example, if you want to leave from the Daleville Gate after the fireworks, make sure you park in the Daleville parking area because the exit routes will be strictly enforced.
"It is important for patrons to follow the parking and traffic flow plan because the plan was developed to ensure safety as people enter and exit the installation," he said. "There will be a number of road closures associated with Freedom Fest and it is important for people to follow the signs posted as well as any instructions from police personnel and event staff. The egress routes are set up to move the large volume of vehicles off the installation as quickly and safely as possible. Patrons should understand that it is going to take time to get all the vehicles off the installation so we ask for their patience up front."
Also, for safety purposes, there are some items that are prohibited at Freedom Fest, which include coolers, backpacks (except for medical and baby care items), pets, fireworks of any kind, glass containers, weapons of any kind, bicycles, scooters, rollerblades and skateboards.
"The [Directorate of Public Safety] wants everyone to come out and enjoy Freedom Fest 2017, but we ask that you do it responsibly," said Dumais. "There will be prohibited items signs posted in the parking areas as a reminder not to bring those items on the field. Last year, there were still a number of patrons that brought pets to the event -- please leave your pets at home."
For more information, call 255-1749.