Edmond's LibertyFest starts Saturday
EDMOND — Edmond volunteers are ready for the 45th annual LibertyFest, with 10 events scheduled over 11 days. This year safety has been a top priority, after a fireworks accident that happened last year.
Changes have been made in the finale fireworks show, to be held at 9:30 p.m. July 4 on the University of Central Oklahoma campus.
"We are all about safety," said Bob Meinders, LibertyFest fireworks chairman. "Last year was just a freak accident."
A premature explosion last year left one person injured and shattered windows on the UCO campus. The show was stopped about 17 minutes after it started because a shell exploded while it was still in the mortar.
The lines blocking the crowd have been moved, and the 4-inch salute firework that malfunctioned last year will not be used in the show, Meinders said.
"We apologize for last year," Meinders said. "We can only address it and go on and keep everyone safe. We always put on a good show. We hope to go back to our winning ways."
Last year, more than 125,000 people attended events organized and produced by more than 500 volunteers. Edmond has been chosen by CNN and USA Today as one of the top 10 places to be in America on July 4.
LibertyFest started 45 years ago with three men talking over coffee about holding a Fourth of July celebration: Ray Rogers, a banker; A.C. Caplinger, a former mayor; and Mark Winters, the UCO basketball coach.
Gwen Springer-Boots, LibertyFest treasurer, has been helping put on the celebration since the beginning. She has seen events come and go and years when money was tight.
Did she ever dream it would last 45 years? "Good grief, no," she said.
"I hope it will last another five years from now," Springer-Boots said. "That would be a milestone. It is often mass confusion and then it just all works out."
The July 4 parade, called "45 Years of Family Festivals," begins at 9 a.m. and will feature more than 100 entries. The 1.5-mile parade has been organized for years by Charles and Jerry James.
The parade begins at University Drive and Ayers Street, continues west to Broadway, goes south to Second Street, east back to University Drive, then north.
This year's grand marshal is Col. Devin R. Wooden, commander of the 137th Special Operations Wing at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base. Wooden, of Edmond, is a command pilot with more than 5,000 military flying hours.
The parade will be available on livestream at www.libertyfest.org.
Zero to 120 mph
New for the second year are helicopter rides from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 1 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 2 from the parking lot between road rally sponsors Earls Rib Palace and Edmond Furniture Gallery.
DWTA will offer helicopter rides for $40 for a four-minute flight, going from zero to 120 mph in seconds.
ParkFest at UCO starts at 6 p.m. July 4 with free watermelon while the supply lasts. Music, games, family entertainment, contests and food are included.
People should turn to KZUC 993 UCentral Radio during the fireworks.
Taste of Edmond will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 2 at Festival Market Place in downtown Edmond. This is a fundraiser for LibertyFest to help pay for future events. More than 40 restaurants will serve samples during the all-you-can eat event.
Wristbands for Taste of Edmond are on sale in advance for $12 a person; children 10 and younger get in free. The day of the event, the price jumps to $17. There is no rain date and no animals are allowed.
Wristbands can be bought at Edmond Convention & Visitors Bureau, 1030 S Bryant Ave.; Edmond Historical Society, 431 S Boulevard; Edmond Life and Leisure, 107 S Broadway; Fashion Boutique, 104 S Broadway; Fields Jewelry, 12 S Broadway; Gourmet Gallery, 1532 S Boulevard; Michelle Schaefer's Farmers Insurance, 19 E Hurd; Patti's Hallmark, 3216 S Broadway; and during the LibertyFest Car Show on Saturday at Hafer Park.
The annual street party and tasting event started June 15, 1991, with 20 restaurants, in a small building on Broadway with 500 people attending.
Other LibertyFest events
•Car Show: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Hafer Park, free for the public.
•KiteFest: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and after sundown Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Mitch Park (weather permitting). Free admission. Enter off Santa Fe Avenue, north of Covell.
•Miss LibertyFest Pageant: Teen Pageant and Miss LibertyFest Pageant, 7 p.m. Saturday, Edmond Santa Fe High School, $15.
•Rodeo: 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Carl Beene Rodeo Grounds, 300 N Kelly Ave. Adults $10; children 11 and younger, $5.
•Road Rally: First car out at 11 a.m. July 2. Register and start at Earl's Rib Palace, 2121 S Broadway. The fee is $10 per vehicle. Awards ceremony at 5 p.m.
•UCO Summer Band Concert: 7:30 p.m. June 29 near Buddy's Cafeteria, watch for signs on campus. Free watermelon and ice cream.
For more information, go to www.libertyfest.org.