The Edmond Sun

Local News

July 2, 2012

Parade, fireworks to cap off LibertyFest

EDMOND — After 40 years of LibertyFest celebrations, organizers are once again looking to have this year’s Fourth of July festivities go out with a bang.

And though many area businesses will close for the holiday, the city will stay hopping with the three cornerstone festival attractions, which in part make the festival one of CNN and USA Today’s “Top 10 July 4th Festivals in the United States.”

Things start at 9 a.m. Wednesday when the annual LibertyFest Parade makes its 1.5-mile trek through the city. The parade begins on Ayers Street at University Drive and goes west to Broadway past the reviewing stand where judges will choose the parade’s best from five categories — doling out $1,500 in prize money and awards. Paraders will continue east on Second Street and then return north on University Drive to conclude the parade at its starting point.

The free parade will feature 106 attractions, said event Co-Chairman Jerry James. Jerry and his brother Charles share this year’s chairmanship.

Jerry said eight of the floats have been built professionally from outside of Edmond, coming from Independence, Mo.

“Probably a third of our entries are beyond the Oklahoma City area,” James said. “Two-thirds are in the Edmond area.”

As many as 50,000 people are expected to crowd Edmond’s streets to see this moving show. About 2,000 people work on or in the parade, James said.

“It’s something we enjoy doing,” said James, who has been involved in the parade since 1984.

Parade Grand Marshall is Oren Lee Peters, 91, of Edmond. Peters is a World War II and Korea veteran who was inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame in 2011.

The Boy Scouts of America will carry their giant 50-by-76-foot American flag through the route as well, James said.

Also special this year are the Girl Scouts of America, who are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the organization this year. More than 150 girls will be outfitted in specially-made LibertyFest Parade costumes Wednesday, said Jama Baskin of troop 3230.

As the day wears on, so do the holiday activities. From 6:30-9:30 p.m., the University of Central Oklahoma campus, 100 N. University Drive,  will be overrun with people at ParkFest.

About 6,000 people are expected to attend and enjoy the carnival games, rides, clowns, temporary tattooing and hair painting for the patriotic holiday. A DJ will also be out booming music for those with a little boogie.

“You will be out there dancing with him and doing all kinds of little dances,” said Co-Chair Pat Goodin.

People can purchase barbecue and the like from vendors, and Goodin added that the 120 watermelons have been donated by Edmond’s Uptown Grocery for people to enjoy for free.

Goodin said no ice chests or dogs are allowed during the events.

Just as people get full and the sun dips down, then the fireworks begin at 10 p.m. at UCO. Robert Meinders, who is chairman of the fireworks show, said it’s going to be quite a production.

“It’s the biggest part of our celebration,” he said.

The 30-minute show will punctuate a busy festival with thousands of pyrotechnics shooting off.

Goodin said viewers are so close to the show that they nearly have to lay on their backs to watch.

“Some of the best viewing is about a half a mile away,” commented Meinders.

All the boom comes with a tune as well. Watchers can turn their radios to KCSC, 90.1 FM, to hear music synchronized with the visual show.

More information on festivities for the 40th LibertyFest can be found at www.libertyfest.org or by calling 340-2527.

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