Freedom Festival 2018 celebrates America

The Freedom Festival will host its 38th annual Stadium of Fire event this year on July 4, Independence Day.

This annual event, held at BYU’s LaVell Edwards Stadium, will feature the award-winning musical group OneRepublic as the headliner.

The Stadium of Fire is the largest stadium fireworks show in the nation and features patriotic music and other exciting acts. About 45,000 to 50,000 spectators are expected to attend the concert this year.

“I love seeing Americans come together to celebrate their freedom so strongly, despite differing views and opinions,” former Orem resident Ladd Wadsworth said.

The Stadium of Fire is a way to help community members, including families and children, celebrate America’s independence.

“The Freedom Festival is specifically to celebrate the Fourth of July, the Declaration of Independence and those things that took place at the founding of our country,” said Paul Warner, executive director of the Freedom Festival.

Ticket prices for the Stadium of Fire range from $35–$250. All proceeds will help support the Freedom Festival. The organization is a non-profit and hosts about 25 events every year, most of which are free to the public.

“The number of events each year varies from about 24 to 27. It just depends. We expect somewhere around a half a million each year to attend the Freedom Festival events,” Warner said.

Events held for Independence Day include the Stadium of Fire, the Grand Parade, the Balloon Fest and a Freedom Run.

The Balloon Fest will be celebrating its 34th year with approximately 25 hot air balloons, which spectators can see close-up. Located in Bulldog Field in Provo, this event is free to the public.

Guests are able to walk around the balloons and watch them fly on July 2 to July 4 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Families are encouraged to arrive at 6 a.m. to see the balloons inflate.

Another popular event of the Freedom Festival is the Freedom Run held on July 4 at 7 a.m. The Freedom Run includes a 10K, a 5K and the Mayor’s one-mile Fun Run. All finish lines are at Kiwanis Park in Provo.

“It definitely unites the community. It is such a fun thing to do,” Chelsea Clayton, a BYU graduate student in athletic training, said.

The event cost varies by race and date of registration. Medals, awards and cash prizes are given out to eligible runners following the runs at 8:30 a.m. at the bandstand.

One of the biggest events of the Freedom Festival celebrations is the Grand Parade — the largest of its kind in Utah with around 300,000 spectators.

Community members will see bands, professional floats, giant helium balloons and professional performances throughout the course of the parade. The event celebrates America’s founding through music, dance and displays.

The route for this year’s parade will begin at 960 North University Avenue in Provo, head south to 200 South, and then turn east to 200 East. The route will then run along Center Street before ending on 900 East.

The Grand Parade is free, but spectators can reserve bleacher seats for $7 each.

Spots can be saved on University Ave. after 3 p.m on July 3. All other places on the parade route can be claimed at 5 a.m. on July 4.

“Utah County is a family neighborhood, and the Freedom Festival is designed so families can get out and appreciate the opportunity they have to live in America,” Warner said.

For more information on the upcoming Freedom Festival events and volunteer opportunities, visit freedomfestival.org.

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