The City of Houston revealed its 2023 Shell Freedom Over Texas plans on Tuesday. The July 4th event has been Houston's annual celebration for 36 years with fireworks, food, activities and live music acts bringing an attendance of 50,000 people.
The event takes place at Eleanor Tinsley Park and Sam Houston Park located along Allen Parkway just west of downtown from 4 p.m. -10 p.m.. General admission is $10 and children 5 and under are free.
"We are committed to provide a fun and patriotic celebration, reflective of the diversity and strength of our city, and one that celebrates the ideas of our founding fathers," said Mayor Sylvester Turner. "And I’m proud to celebrate our nation’s birthday with you."
This year's live performances include country music singer and songwriter Chris Young as the headliner with special guests Yola, TMF formerly of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Keesha Pratt Band and more.
The event is a place for Houstonians to have fun, and city officials flagged the importance of health and public safety. The city is asking residents to prepare ahead of time, expect some delays due to traffic, and road closures along the Allen Parkway Corridor.
"We will ask like I always do when you come, pack your pride, your pride for the city, your pride for our nation," said Matt Slinkard, Houston's Executive Police Chief. "Pack your patience, it’s a family day, let’s treat it as such and enjoy one another and enjoy one another’s company."
Slinkard said there will be heavy police presence, but it also takes the community looking out for one another.
"If you see something, say something," he said. "Public safety is the responsibility of everyone, so let’s make sure that we help each other be good public safety partners. The Houston Police Department will be out there with plenty of resources both seen and unseen to secure this event."
This is the second in-person event since the COVID-19 pandemic and Slinkard said security measures are in place in the event of an incident.
"We will be working with our public safety partners at the Office of Emergency Management to make sure that we’re monitoring issues around the event," he said. "We want to make sure that we’re getting ahead of any potential threats – I will tell you, we have no threat as of right now for this event – this is set to be a family fun event."
July is a hot month in Houston and Assistant Chief Michael Mier with the Houston Fire Department is reminding people to beware of the heat.
"Be alert of the heat, come hydrated, remain hydrated, look out for each other, see something, say something, and we’ll be there to support your good time here during Fourth of July," he said.
Fireworks are illegal inside Houston city limits, but they remain legal in unincorporated Harris County, but not near churches, hospitals, schools, or childcare centers.
Fines can range from $500-$2,000 for each individual firework.
"Just remember that the fireworks are at the Freedom of Over Texas and not in the City of Houston neighborhoods," said Mayor Turner. "Come and watch them, but don’t do them yourselves in your neighborhood, and celebratory gunfire is not allowed."