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RED WHITE & YOU: 10 places in Oklahoma to celebrate Independence Day

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OKLAHOMA CITY- Growing up in a small Texas town, I was lucky to experience what some would call the “All-American Dream” when it came time to celebrate the Fourth of July. Every Independence Day, you would find just about every church lady had an entry in the homemade ice cream contest, all the old men discussing our upcoming football season, and my personal favorite, the annual turtle races; to this day, I remain undefeated on the turtle circuit.

Unfortunately, yours truly is now apparently too old to race, yet too young for an award winning homemade vanilla ice cream recipe; it turns out Blink-182 wasn’t exaggerating when they said “nobody likes you when you’re 23”.

So instead of waltzing off to The Lone Star State, I buckled down, did some research to find out just how the metro and state of Oklahoma plan to celebrate America’s freedom, and found festivals that anyone can enjoy, turtle or not!

Red, White & Boom

Start your celebration a day early with Red, White & Boom on July 3rd at State Fair Park, with a free concert put on by the Oklahoma City Philharmonic beginning at 8:30 p.m. with music set to a colorful fireworks display.

While the event is family friendly, the event staff asks you leave your furry pals at home. Parking is free.

Bricktown 4th Fest

For an evening as American as apple pie, head down to Bricktown’s 4th Fest! Live entertainment kicks off at 7 p.m., and the Oklahoma City Dodgers are slated to throw the first pitch at 7:05, beginning their eight home game long stretch. DJ Roy “Musicman” Henderson will be spinning a variety of family-friendly Top 40 and country hits throughout the night at the Centennial Fountain. Even if you don’t attend the Dodgers game, Bricktown’s fireworks are easily visible from anywhere in Bricktown, or the surrounding areas; just bring a blanket and find a grassy space; the show starts at 9:30 p.m.

Edmond LibertyFest

If you’re seeking a patriotic party that is plentiful, you don’t have to look much further than Edmond’s LibertyFest; it has been named one of the top 10 July 4th festivals by both CNN and USA Today, where attendees can soak in a concert, kite fest, rodeo, car show, and much more

The festivities kick off with Oklahoma’s largest Independence Day parade at 9 a.m., and continue with ParkFest at UCO from 6 pm. to 9 p.m. Finally, crowds will be dazzled at 9:30, when the largest metro fireworks display goes up at UCO.

A Celebration in the Heartland (Moore)

A Celebration in the Heartland, located in Moore, is another great family-friendly festival which has something for everybody.

All the fun commences at 10 a.m., and includes a giant sand pit, the chance to taste local wines from area vineyards, live music, and inflatables. Other notable attractions that seem to be fan favorites are the local vendors, a car show, and enough fair food to rival the state fair; highlights of Heartland’s selection include roasted corn, Indian tacos, Cajun food, cinnamon rolls, and more.

The magic commences at dusk with a “spectacular fireworks display”.

Yukon’s Freedom Fest

Two days of fun await at Yukon’s Freedom Fest, where patrons have no need to worry about FOMO, as the city will have firework shows both Sunday and Monday night, beginning at 10 p.m. in Chisholm Trail Park.

Events on Sunday are scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., as a “tribute to veterans”. Music throughout the evening will be provided curtesy of the Air Force Band and Air National Guard of the Southwest at 5:30 p.m; soundtrack for Yukon’s patriotic light display will be provided by Irv Wagner’s Concert Band beginning at 8 p.m.

The real excitement begins Monday morning at 8 a.m. with a patriotic children’s parade. From there, take a dip at the free family swim, check out the classic car show, or get your grub on at the Pork at the Park Backyard BBQ Cook-off. Then, stick around for a fireworks display accompanied by the Oklahoma City Philharmonic at dusk; festival goers can expect to enjoy free watermelon and ice cream.

Freedom Festival (Bethany)

Guests of all ages are invited to join the more than 20,000 people expected to come for the Indian tacos, and stay for the corn dogs at Bethany’s Freedom Festival on Monday.

This free festival has attractions that could even make Donald Trump think America is the bees knees, including pony rides, carnival rides, and other midway fare that both young and old will go crazy over. Adults will enjoy the opportunity to view “awe-worthy rides” taking part in car show, in between taking a leisurely stroll through various vendor booths, and hearing live bands performing throughout the day.

Bethany’s fireworks are planned to begin when sun goes down.

Midwest City’s Tribute to Liberty

Ladies and gentlemen of all ages have been cordially invited to spend an evening at Joe B. Barnes Regional Park to immerse their red, white, and blue spirits during Tribute to Liberty,which kicks off with live entertainment and hot dogs around 6 p.m.

Midwest City’s glittering tribute of patriotism is scheduled for 9:45 p.m.

Lawton-Ft. Sill’s Freedom Festival

If you don’t mind taking a drive, consider heading to Elmer Thomas Park for Lawton-Ft. Sill’s Freedom Festival.

Parents will be happy to know they can expect an action-packed day, with activities for the kiddoes ranging from the Army Adventure Trailer simulations, petting zoo, mechanical bull, to face painting, or simply relax while enjoying tunes by local artists like Mad Leon, the 77th U.S. Army Band, Crosstowne Groove, and plenty more. Those in attendance also have the ability to grab a bite to eat before enjoying some fireworks set to choreographed music later in the evening.

One of the more popular attractions is the Sweet Temptationz Car Show, described as a “mix of classic cars and newer rides”, where festival-goers can pick their favorite vehicles to win a “Best of Show” award. Registration for car entries is from 8-9 a.m.

Boomer Blast (Stillwater)

If you like to fish, or are an early bird, Boomer Blast welcomes you, with their annual Family Fishing Tournament taking place at 5:30 a.m. Participants will gather at Boomer Lake’s south boat ramp, with the weigh-in taking place at 11 a.m. Prizes will be awarded to the teams of four in both boating and non-boating categories.

Patriots of all ages are encouraged to hang around for the Independence Day fireworks show, and enjoy inflatables as well as a wide selection of food trucks. The show is expected to begin around 9:35 p.m.

Pauls Valley Watermelon Seed Spittin’ World Championship

Another national treasure can be experienced by heading to Pauls Valley for their nationally- renowned watermelon seed spittin’ competition, a tradition held for more than 50 years! The event has not only garnered international recognition in the Guinness Book of World Records but is also “immortalized in the original edition of Trivial Pursuit”.

Aside from watermelon, guests will find that there are still plenty family events, including the evening fireworks show, a hamburger and hot dog cook-out, and loads of live local music. However, it’s seed-spitting that really seems to draw the crowds, with the contest broken into six age-based categories; participants can register for free at 6 p.m in the football stadium. Space is limited.

And who knows- maybe you could be the one to break the current record set by Chicagoan Jack Dietz in 1989 (66 feet 11 inches)!

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Cassidy Smith

A born and bred Texan, Cassidy Smith hails from Amarillo, a place where residents take pride in...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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