Woodstock Celebrates FreedomFest
The downtown parade begins at 10 a.m. followed by a festival in the park and fireworks at dusk.
Woodstock is preparing for a day of elaborate floats, face painting, live music and of course, the traditional breathing-taking fireworks in its annual FreedomFest.
“We’ve done a lot of planning to make sure everyone has fun,” said Marybeth Stockdale, the special events coordinator for Woodstock Parks and Recreation.
After the Freedom Run events, the festivities begin with the Fourth of July Parade at 10 a.m.
With an anticipated crowd of 2,000-5,000, 120 units will travel the parade route to celebrate freedom.
Floats by the American Legion, the Cub Scouts and several churches will cruise in the parade along side politicians, beauty queens and even the town coroner.
Additionally, Cinderalla from the Elm Street Cultural Center’s current play production will cruise along celebrating in the procession.
Parade Floats are automatically entered into a contest for the Most Original Float and the Best Holiday Float.
Winners will receive a trophy and bragging rights, Stockdale said.
Last year’s winner for the Most Original Float was the Woodstock Community Church.
Member Judy Jacob’s said the float building has always been a great and fun church activity, and they are competing to defend their title this year.
“Plan ahead, have lots of volunteers, use everyone’s skills, and don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Jacobs recommends to this year’s parade participants.
Last year’s winner for the Best Holiday Float was the Cub Scout Pack 638 who are also entered and seeking to defend their title in this year’s parade.
Woodstock resident Peggy Ray-Simpson is entering the parade for the first time. Her float is a Mobile Military Memorial, dedicated to her deceased veteran husband, a Marine, National Guardsman and Army officer, as well as all fallen soldiers and current military service members.
Simpson, an Army Veteran herself who served for four years, is also a member of the Patriot Guard Riders.
Simpson will be escorted by her fiancé, another Patriot Guard Rider, on his Harley Davidson motorcycle, darned with the American Flag and blaring patriotic music.
Simpson’s float is a car she once used to transport her husband to the VA hospital. The vehicle is now decorated with all things patriotic, the American Flag, Army helicopters, and even an American Eagle on top.
The Grand Marshall of the parade is Pat Tanner, Board Member and Woodstock Flower Leagueolunteer.
Following the parade is a festival in the Downtown City Park.
Along with a free concert by the Block Party Band who plays ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s music, the festival will host 10 food vendors, various merchants and lots of activities.
The day’s event also includes a Gumball Guess, Cake Walking, Arts & Crafts, a magician, a juggler and a clown to make balloon animals.
While planning the Fourth of July event is a tremendous amount of work, Stockdale said it’s worth it.
“It’s great to see it all come together, and I can sit back and watch the fireworks.”