Members of the U.S. Army Parachute Team display a pyrotechnic side-by-side formation during winter training. The Golden Knights will make their first jump into Redstone Arsenal, June 11 for the 247th Army Birthday Celebration.
Members of the U.S. Army Parachute Team display a pyrotechnic side-by-side formation during winter training. The Golden Knights will make their first jump into Redstone Arsenal, June 11 for the 247th Army Birthday Celebration. (Photo Credit: Army Photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

Redstone will have a huge birthday party in 10 days.

The 247th Army Birthday Celebration, featuring the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, will be held Saturday, June 11 from 5-9 p.m. at the Redstone Gateway at Gate 9.

“It is open to the public free of charge,” Kenneth McDonald, event director, said. “Last year was the first time that we did it at the Gateway. And we had over 3,500 people in attendance. And we expect anywhere from 4-5,000 this year to attend because the Golden Knights are going to draw them in. They’re going to come from everywhere.

“This is the first time the Golden Knights have ever jumped at Redstone Arsenal, so it is a big deal.”

The Army team will do a precision free-fall parachute demonstration to open the celebration at 5:40 p.m. The official cake-cutting ceremony is scheduled at 6.

Based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the Golden Knights originated in 1959. Members of the team that will jump into Redstone represent Florida, Arizona, California, Indiana, Colorado, Virginia, Ohio, South Carolina, North Carolina and Missouri, according to Golden Knights public affairs specialist Twana Atkinson.

Capt. Spencer Wackelin, Golden Knights operations officer/company commander, shared his thoughts about the jump.

“We are excited to spend our Army’s 247th birthday with the Redstone Arsenal community,” Wackelin said. “We continue to have a very rigorous demonstration season each year, so I’m elated that we finally get to make it out.”

There will be a Cruise-In Car Show from 5-7:30, followed by the awards presentation. Register for the car show online by Friday at redstonemwr.com. Entry fee is $5 per vehicle; and it’s limited to the first 130 vehicles. First, second and third place will be awarded in cars, trucks and motorcycles. There is also an overall best-of-show Commanders Cup award. First place is a $200 gift card; second, a $100 gift card; and third, a $50 gift card. The Commanders Cup is a 2-3 foot tall golden cup. “It’s beautiful,” McDonald said.

The celebration also includes food trucks and restaurants; a kids play zone; a crafts and vendor market; and music by DJ Slim Robb, from Birmingham.

“And the finale will be the grand fireworks show and it’s amazing,” McDonald said. “That will close it out at 8:30, right at dark.”

Garrison Commander Col. Glenn Mellor encourages the entire community to come out and help the Army celebrate its 247th year.

“We learned a lot last year and it was a great event,” Mellor said.

McDonald said, “The 247th Army Birthday will be the largest Army celebration for the community.”

Redstone Gateway is the overall title sponsor. The fireworks sponsor is Avion Solutions. Presenting sponsors include 94.1 WHRP, 104.3 WZYP and the Alabama Media Group. Supporting sponsors include First Command, Redstone Federal Credit Union, Robins & Morton, and IHG Army Hotels.

For more information, visit redstonemwr.com.

The Army was founded June 14, 1775. Besides the Army birthday, June brings the Army Heritage Month.