Heritage And Freedom Fest Opens Saturday
OK GO and Phil Nasser will headline the festival.
O'Fallon's 31st Annual Heritage and Freedom Fest kicks off Saturday with three days of family fun, including a parade, nationally known musicians, carnival rides and--of course--fireworks.
The free festival in celebration of Independence Day runs Saturday-Monday at the Ozzie Smith Sports Complex, 900 T.R. Hughes Blvd. The event runs from 5-10 p.m. Saturday, noon-11 p.m. Sunday and noon-10 p.m. Monday.
"Something new this year, the U.S. Tennis Association is bringing its SmashZone," said Marsha Seymour, manager of tourism and festivals for the city. "It's designed to encourage kids 10 and younger to become interested in the game of tennis. There's inflatable courts, and the equipment is lighter weight. There's also a trailer where kids can play wii tennis and meet tennis pros."
Headline musical talent for the festival includes alt-rockers OK GO and Tonic along with Nashville’s award-winning singer-songwriter Phil Vassar and former American Idol contestant Josh Gracin.
Vassar and Gracin will perform on Sunday, "Country Night," with local artists Borderline and Rickie Lee Tanner playing during the afternoon. Gracin is scheduled to take the stage at 6:30 p.m. followed by Vassar at 8:45 p.m. and fireworks at 10:15 p.m
"Rockin' Monday" will feature performances by local acts Contagious and Vote for Pedro during the afternoon followed by Tonic at 6 p.m., OK GO at 8:15 p.m. and fireworks at 9:45 p.m.
The festival kicks off Saturday with a special Family Night featuring discounted prices on carnival rides. A wristband for unlimited rides may be purchased for $20, only for Saturday. Carnival tickets for all three days can be purchased in advance at a discount (50 cents per ticket) through June 30 at the O'Fallon Parks and Recreation Office and Renaud Spirit Center.
Music, fireworks and carnival rides and games aren't the only entertainment. Escape artist Mario Manzini will perform at 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Laura Ernst, juggler and stunt artist, will show off her talents at 3, 5 and 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday.
"Laura Ernst was on America's Got Talent last year," Seymour said. "She's very entertaining. I think she'll put on a good show."
A free Kids Area will open at noon Sunday and Monday and offer arts, crafts, balloon characters, face painting, giant inflatables and a graffiti wall. The kids area will not be open on Saturday.
"Celebrating the American Spirit" is the theme for this year's Heritage and Freedom Fest Parade. The parade begins at 9:30 a.m. Monday and runs along Main Street and Tom Ginnever Avenue. Prizes and trophies will be awarded to those entries that best demonstrate the parade's theme.
Free parking and shuttle service for the festival are available Sunday and Monday. Free parking is available off Tom Ginnever Avenue at Fort Zumwalt North and Christian high schools.
Premium parking is available for $5 at the T.R. Hughes Ballpark west parking lot. This option is available on a first-come, first-serve basis on Sunday and Monday. Disabled parking is only available at Westhoff Park and no general parking will be allowed at the Westhoff Park lot.
O'Fallon's Heritage and Freedom Fest is the city's largest festival of the year. "We expect over 150,000 people will attend," Seymour said.