Tuesday will mark the 10th celebration of Freedom Fest in Jackson, a fireworks show and festival to celebrate the Fourth of July, coordinated by the Madison County Fire Department.
“This is something we wanted to put together years ago as a way to possibly cut down on injuries and fires started by people shooting fireworks privately at their homes, and it’s just a way to bring everyone together for a good time that’s safe for the kids,” said Madison County Fire Chief Eric Turner.
The first Freedom Fest was in 2013, and they’ve held the event every year since except for 2020 when the pandemic shut public gatherings down.
The celebration happens on the grounds of McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport with gates opening at 3 p.m. and festivities starting at 5 p.m. with an opening ceremony.
“When I first brought this idea to Jimmy Harris [who was Madison County Mayor at the time], he said it was a good idea but could we somehow make it bigger like a festival,” Turner said. “So that’s what we tried to do.”
The event has evolved into a big party attended by thousands of people that are able to enjoy listening to live music while their children are able to run around with their friends and ride rides and bounce in inflatable playhouses.
“We’ve got firefighters, sheriff deputies and a few people from Tennessee Highway Patrol there keeping watch over everybody, so parents can enjoy a fun time and trust their kids are safe and having fun,” Turner said. “There are food trucks available too, so it’s a fun night.
“Some people who get there as early as they can set up tents to relax in the shade, and we ask them to take their tents down before the fireworks start so as not to obstruct others’ view.”
One distinction Freedom Fest has from other similar events is this one is actually put on by members of the county fire department.
“We had some of our guys attend school and get certified to shoot off fireworks of this size, so we’re able to spend more money on actual fireworks instead of paying someone else to shoot them off for us,” Turner said. “And that’s one thing about this – no county public money goes toward this.
“All labor from employees is volunteer because they want to be here, and all funds spent are raised from private donations and sponsors. So we appreciate everyone who’s involved in helping us put this on.”
McKellar-Sipes is located near the intersection of Airways Boulevard and Highway 223 on the western edge of Jackson just south of the interstate.
Brandon Shields, email@example.com