Fort Knox is celebrating the nation's 243 years of independence with a Fourth of July Celebration that will kick off at 5 p.m. followed by a Salute to the Nation ceremony at 9 p.m. Both events will take place on Brooks Parade Field.

The celebration will feature eating contests, bounce houses, an activity tent for children, games, and live music from the Air National Guard Band of the South and Kevin Jaggers.

The Salute to the Nation ceremony will include the traditional firing of 51 cannon rounds -- one for each state and an additional round for the six U.S. territories. The day's activities will culminate with a fireworks spectacular at 10:15 p.m., courtesy of Fort Knox's Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

All events are free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets for festival-style seating. Food and refreshments will be available for purchase.

Visitors coming from off post should enter through the Chaffee (main) Gate and follow directional signs to Brooks Parade Field.

Those who do not already possess an Automated Installation Entry pass should go to the Visitor Center, also located at Chaffee Gate, and present a valid government-issued ID, such as a driver's license other state ID or passport book, to obtain one-year pass. Officials are encouraging visitors to get the pass before the day of the event to avoid increased wait times.