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Freedom Fest: Fort Rucker readies to host July 4 celebration

Fireworks explode over Fort Rucker during the Wiregrass Freedom Fest in 2012. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Fireworks explode over Fort Rucker during the Wiregrass Freedom Fest in 2012. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: June 5, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 5, 2014) -- Fort Rucker is gearing up for one of the installation’s biggest celebrations of the year as officials expect people to once again come out by the thousands to celebrate the nation’s independence.

In a partnership with Dothan, Enterprise, Daleville and Ozark, the Wiregrass Freedom Fest will return to Fort Rucker in full swing July 3 from 4-10 p.m., and will feature food, fun, games, vendors, live music and more, said Kristi Fink, Fort Rucker special events coordinator.

“This is a great way for people in the local communities to come out and get to know some of the Soldiers and their Families during the celebration,” said Fink. “They can come out and interact with them and show their appreciation for their service to the nation.

“People from all around will be coming from all walks of life to take part in the celebration and to see one of the biggest fireworks shows in the area,” she continued. “So people should come out and get ready to have a good time.”

The celebration, which brings more than 20,000 people annually to the installation, will feature the 98th Army “Silver Wings” Band who will hit the stage from 6-9 p.m. and will be performing a variety of music, ranging from modern pop to country to classical to patriotic hits, said Janice Erdlitz, Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation marketing director.

The band will also perform a tribute to fallen Soldiers to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom that the nation enjoys, added Fink.

In addition to the band, people can enjoy a wide array of vendors, from food vendors serving all the carnival favorites, like hot dogs, hamburgers, turkey legs, roasted corn, boiled peanuts, cotton candy, popcorn and funnel cakes, to craft vendors where people can purchase a variety of arts and crafts.

Children don’t have to feel left out during the festivities, said Fink. They will be able to enjoy jumping and bouncing at the Fun Zone, where inflatables and bouncy houses will be available from 4-8:45 p.m.

The children can also test their mettle with the Warrant Officer Career College confidence course, where they can get a taste of what warrant officers go through in their training.

In addition to the WOCC confidence course, people can enjoy carnival-style rides for people of different age groups.

The evening will culminate with one of the largest fireworks displays in the area.

“Be sure to bring your lawn chairs and blankets, and kick back and enjoy the show,” said Erdlitz. “This is the party of all parties, and no party is complete without fireworks.”

Since Freedom Fest is sure to be a crowded affair, Fink suggests that people come out early to get their spots and enjoy everything that the celebration has to offer.

People coming on to the installation should also remember that there will be designated parking lots for each gate entrance.

“People need to make sure to park in the parking lot that is designated for the gate that they arrived,” said Fink. “If they came in the Enterprise gate, they need to make sure to park in the area designated for the Enterprise gate entrance.”

When leaving the installation, people also need to make sure they leave from the gate they entered to ensure that traffic flows as smoothly as possible, she added.

Also, for the safety of all patrons, there are certain items that people are prohibited from bringing to Freedom Fest, including coolers, backpacks, pets, fireworks of any kind, glass containers, weapons of any kind, bicycles, scooters and skateboards, said Erdlitz, adding that bags for medical and baby care items are exceptions.

For more information, call 255-9810.

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/127445/

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