Marching toward Freedom Fest
Published 3:24 pm Thursday, July 2, 2015
Austin’s Fourth of July celebration will bring a few new offerings to add to the classics as Freedom Fest turns 30.
The 30th annual Freedom Fest — though the celebration has gone by different names — begins Friday and runs through Sunday.
“It’s two to three days packed of entertainment,” said Jeanine Nelson, who coordinates member relation/major event for the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce.
Email newsletter signup
Family Day in Bandshell Community Park will be on July 3 and festivities continue July 4 after the parade, with the bandshell entertainment, free inflatables, the National Guard climbing wall, fireworks both nights and much more.
“There’s something for everybody to do,” Festival Director Jeff Baldus said.
One new activity this year will be an activity tent in Bandshell Park for children where area organizations and businesses will take a two-hour spot to organize an activity.
On Friday, KSMQ and Habitat for Humanity will man the booth from 2 to 4 p.m., along with FFA and 4-H from 4 to 6 p.m., followed by painting and other activities from 6 to 8 p.m.
On Saturday, Everything Hobby and Impact Martial Arts and Fitness will man the booth from 2 to 4 p.m., following by activities like bracelet and flag making from 4 to 6 p.m., and crafts like making liberty hats from 6 to 8 p.m.
The July 4 parade route will stick to its 2014 route, which started at Austin Utilities, 400 Fourth St. NE, and moved down Fourth Avenue Northeast before turning south onto Main Street North and running to Bandshell Community Park.
For many years, the parade started at Hormel Corporate South/the old Spam Museum, but the beginning moved to the Austin Utilities building last year during construction on North Main Street. The change proved popular with the public and chamber members, especially since some Fourth Street Businesses were open for part of the parade, according to Nelson.
“The audience I think liked it,” Nelson said. “It was a better economic impact for our members.”
Sunday’s 5-mile Hog Jog will move its start to the Hormel Nature Center after many years at East Side Lake Park.
Starting at 8 a.m., participants will run the bike trails out to Todd Park and back to the nature center.
“It really simplifies the logistics of the route and makes it safer,” Austin YMCA Director Tedd Maxfield said.
By starting at the nature center, the Hog Jog will be at the same location as the 25-mile Dan Ulwelling Bike Race, which starts at noon and uses the same chip timing equipment. Sharing a start and end location means organizers won’t have to move the equipment after the Hog Jog.
Cost for the Hog Jog is $25 dollars per person and $15 for additional family members by July 4. On race day the fee is $30. Race-day registration will be from 6:45 to 7:30 a.m. at the nature center.
Registration for the Ulwelling Bike Race can be completed at www.austincoc.com and is $15 after. Race-day registration begins at 11 a.m. Sunday.