Edmond’s must-see Independence Day celebration.
Independence Day did not become a federal holiday until 1941. However, celebrating the holiday dates back to the 18th century. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Independence Day, and two days later, the Declaration of Independence was adopted.
Independence Day festivities began in Philadelphia in 1777 at the first formal 4th of July celebration. Since then, most cities and municipalities have observed the holiday with various activities, including concerts, parades, family gatherings and fireworks to celebrate the birth of American independence. Several locales have been renowned for having among the country’s most spectacular celebrations — and Edmond, Oklahoma, is among them.
“LibertyFest has a strong 50-year history in the Edmond community, which has spanned multiple generations,” said president-elect and publicity co-chair Eriech Tapia. “Not only is it a time to celebrate our great nation, but also a time of fun family festivals. No other festival in Oklahoma can claim the traditions that LibertyFest has created among families across our nation. People drive from surrounding states to come to LibertyFest events, and we take pride in knowing that we are creating memories for all generations.”
Many celebrations garner a large turnout for their fireworks displays. However, LibertyFest has gained additional notoriety for the number of activities it hosts and its festival length. USA Today and CNN rated LibertyFest as one of the top 10 4th of July celebrations in the U.S. Ten events are at the heart of the festival, which spans a week and includes:
- Flag Retirement Ceremony
- Car Show
- Kite Fest
- Concert in the Park
- Liberty Sprint
“The parade has become one of the most popular events and has a positive reputation of quality entries, large crowds and a safe and secure staging area,” said parade chairman Jerry James.
Over the years, costs to run the event have steadily increased along with its size. In 1973, LibertyFest required an investment of approximately $5,000. Today, $45,000 is spent on fireworks and $30,000 on insurance. Donations help support the festivities, with the most considerable contributions from the City of Edmond and the festival’s main sponsor, Citizens Bank of Edmond. Approximately 400 volunteers are also needed.
“LibertyFest events represent the patriotism that is found in every American,” said Tapia. “Our events bring everybody from all walks of life together. It truly is a festival that any person can come to and enjoy. We pride ourselves in making sure that the majority of our events are free for families.”
Festivities began on June 19 this year and continue through July 4. For more information, visit libertyfest.org.