Fort Hood’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation will host its annual Independence Day Freedom Fest celebration on July 4, starting at 4 p.m. at Hood Stadium.

The event is free and open to the public and all are invited to celebrate the nation’s independence at the largest military installation in the free world.

Guests are invited to show up early to enjoy music, food and beverage vendors for purchase. The gates and concessions will open at 4 p.m., along with DJ music. A Military Police Dog demonstration will start at 4:30 p.m. and H-E-B will host cart races with prizes at 5 p.m. Inflatable bounce houses will be available for the children.

“This year we’re bringing back a ‘Salute to the Nation,’” said Norma Hernandez, Fort Hood FMWR special events coordinator. “We will have a live cannon fire after calling the name of each state in the nation, provided by 1st Platoon, Attack Battery, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, (1st Cavalry Division). We’re pretty excited.”

The entertainment will kick off on the main stage live with Eric Paslay at 6:45 p.m., followed by the 1st Cavalry Division Band. The celebration will conclude with a 30-minute fireworks display choreographed to the “1812 Overture” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

The only way to get to the celebration will be through two specified lanes at the Clear Creek Gate, so all service members, families and public guests should plan to enter through there, Hernandez said. No passes will be needed for non-military affiliated personnel wishing to attend, but the traffic will be controlled to only allow access to and from Hood Stadium.

An average of 7,000 to 7,500 guests are expected to attend, so Hernandez recommends planning for delays.

There are several items which will not be allowed at the event, primarily to ensure the safety of the post and those living or working there, Hernandez said. Prohibited items include explosives, weapons, firearms, knives, clubs, brass knuckles, backpacks, glass containers (except baby bottles), pets, alcohol, fireworks and pop-up/canopy tents.

Items allowed are strollers, coolers, Camelbacks, umbrellas, blankets, lawn chairs, small wagons, cameras, video/camcorders and service animals such as guide dogs, she added. All items entering the post will be subject to search and prohibited items, to include alcohol found in coolers, will be confiscated.

Individuals requiring special accommodations due to disability should call 254-288-7835.

dbryant@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7554

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