After two years of cancellations due to Covid-19 concerns, Freedom Fest reunited the Clovis community in celebration of Independence Day.
For this year only the celebration was held at Buchanan High School’s Veteran’s Memorial Stadium.
One of the largest fireworks shows in the Central Valley, the annual Clovis Freedom Fest celebration is the pride and joy of the local Kiwanis Club.
Shawn Miller of the Kiwanis Club stated, “Normally, with an event of this size, if you get 5000 people there it’s a success. This was well beyond that..”
Miller also explained that there were so many families and spectators that food vendors actually sold out. “It was just kind of fun to have a great big community celebration…To all the sponsors, who quite frankly paid for this thing to be put on, a great big thank you to those guys too.”
Prior to 2020 there was only one year the event did not take place and one year when it faced cancellation.
“We took the Freedom Fest celebration over from the Clovis Chamber of Commerce in 1998,” said Eddie DeLeon of the Clovis Kiwanis Club. “They gave it up in ‘96, the show went dark in 1997, we took it over in 1998.”
However in 2017 the event was canceled due to a major sponsor pulling out. It was at this time that the Clovis Veterans Memorial District stepped up to organize local funding through veteran and community groups to make the 4th of July Freedom Fest possible that year and after.
“It’s important for us to celebrate things that bring our community together,” said Lorenzo Rios, CEO of Clovis Veterans Memorial District and one of the individuals in charge of organizing the Freedom Fest. “Celebration of freedom is a wonderful thing, celebration of community is a wonderful thing.”
Rios added that Freedom Fest brings the community together, regardless of personal differences, and feels that differences amongst individuals should be put aside to celebrate Independence Day.
“National politics are not necessarily local politics,” he said. “Local, community politics have been a family affair. It’s important that we don’t fall back to what side you are on. We’re all in it together as one community to celebrate a national event that celebrates freedom and our independence.”
According to residents in surrounding neighborhoods, the return of the Freedom Fest was a booming success with 4,600 rounds of fireworks and a 25-minute show that drew a crowd of over 10,000, according to organizers.
A “Kid’s Korral” games, activities, bounce houses and other attractions were included. In addition to the fireworks show, there was an assortment of foods and refreshments offered as well as other games and entertainment.
Thank you to all the volunteers that made this year’s Freedom Fest an event to remember.