No Cost to attend July 4th Celebration Downtown

Houston’s annual July 4th celebration tomorrow at Eleanor Tinsley Park downtown salutes local military heroes and honors the 40th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo-11 lunar landing. Officials anticipate an even bigger crowd because for the first time, the event is free. But because of the hot weather, patrons are advised to dress appropriately. Pat Hernandez has the story.

Houston’s Freedom over Texas features the largest land-based fireworks show in the country. With that comes an enormous responsibility.

Paula Craig: “We call our designer a choreographer, we call our fireworks choreography, and that’s because it’s really art in the air. It’s not just a bunch of stuff going up boom, boom, boom. It’s artistic moments in the air.”

Paula Craig is the show producer. She says planning is a year-round process that begins before January with selecting the music and buying the fireworks.

“We have from January through about March to do the main planning and logistics. Come March, we’re starting to receive the products from the manufacturers and, we start here on sight, mid-June, to be ready for the 4th of July.” 

Buffalo Bayou is the perfect setting for the dazzling explosion of colors, but Craig says the area is not conducive for one big show.

“We shoot at multiple places along the bayou, kinda like bookends, and they shoot simultaneously, they’re identical and, the neat thing about the show is that it’s very synchopated…very set to the music.”

Susan Christian: “This will be a show that promises to entertain like none other, I think.”

Susan Christian is with the city of Houston. She says the event is free, thanks to the sponsors who anti-ed up a bigger financial contribution.

“We’re real proud of that. I don’t know of another event that’s cut their admissions but you know, we’ve always had a nominally priced admissions ticket, and because we wanted people to come out. But it’s just kind of our response to the economy.”

With no rain in the forecast, Christian says patrons should be mindful of the weather.

“It is gonna be hot. We’re encouraging lots of hydration. We have plenty of food a beverage for you to purchase out here. But also, just be smart. Wear light colored clothing. Wear a hat…uh, hydrate. Just realize that the sun’s gonna take it out of you.”

Texas native Clay Walker takes the Freedom Stage around 8…before the fireworks display at 9:30. Christian says the gates open at 4pm tomorrow.

“The most important thing to do when you come on site, have a good time of course, but we have a lot of the various branches of the military on site. There’ll be a couple of thousand here, and thank ’em. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are or who we are, and I think it’s important. Thank you goes a long way.”

Pat Hernandez, KUHF…Houston Public Radio News.