Celebrate American Freedom All Week
After the restrictions of 2020, Independence Day may be more meaningful and patriotic than usual this year. It’s serendipitous the holiday falls on a weekend because people are chomping at the bit to get out and rejoice. The economy is roaring back to life and travelers are back on the road. While the fireworks show in Nelson Park has been delayed (check local media to keep up-to-date with all the info), the area will still be full of patriotic ways to have fun.
The Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau’s community calendar has a full roundup of live music and hot happenings. (Sign up for our weekly email for locals and you’ll get a listings and links to fun things to do.)
Here are a few highlights for the week of Independence Day:
Abilene State Park will be open all week with shady spots for picnics, hiking and fishing. The park just installed a new kayak and canoe vending machine to make equipment rentals easy for Lake Abilene, and the park’s historic swimming pool will be open Wednesday through Sunday. Spots fill up quickly and reservations for day play at the park and swimming are a good idea. Nearby, the Taylor County History Center offers a look at the area’s heritage and will be open Tuesday through Saturday, offering a patriotic tour through early Taylor County. Anyone with military ID can get in free, too, because TCHC is a Blue Star Museum.
Fort Phantom Hill will be open from dawn to dusk daily, a place to picnic and reflect on the early inhabitants of the Texas plains. Fort Phantom Lake will be a popular spot, no doubt, and rentals will be available for stand-up paddleboards, canoes and kayaks at SUP Abilene, a party spot and equipment shop located at 9 Cherokee Circle.
Adventure Cove in Rose Park will be open Thursday through Sunday, 11 am to 7 pm, and all five of the city’s splash pads will be open and free every day. Cool off at the newly renovated Nelson Park Splash pad after touring the Abilene Zoo, which will be open regular hours all week, including July 4. It’s a great time to check out the new Madagascar exhibit, feed giraffe, and paddle around Zoo Lake in a swan boat.
Frontier Texas! will be open all week, and the history museum is a cool spot to bring family and friends to learn about America’s westward expansion, buffalo hunters, cowboys, and Comanche. On Saturday, July 3, guests can watch a living history reenactment of Abilene’s dramatic 1884 Pine Street Shootout, an event that left a mark on the culture of the city. The show is free and starts at high noon, naturally. (If you go to Frontier Texas! on Sunday, keep in mind it will close at 4 pm on July 4th)
From the calendar:
July 2: The Josh Abbott Band and Blan Scott Band will perform at the Taylor County Coliseum at 8 pm. The show is in concert with the Original Team Roping Finals, a 6-day event in the Taylor Telecom Arena, where teams will compete for top prizes. Catch the concert and the cowboys!
July 3: The Abilene Food Tour is a fun way to sample local flavors with a journey to delicious destinations downtown each Saturday afternoon. Sign up now for the feast, and you can join the ongoing free Freedom Festival activities, too.
July 4: The band is back together! The Abilene Community Band will once again play its traditional patriotic concert on the lawn of the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest at 7 pm. Fans can bring lawn chairs or a blanket and stake out a spot to enjoy the tunes.
July 3: Abilene Freedom Festival Day 1, Downtown:
• A Show & Shine Car Show will line up on Cypress starting at 3 pm with prizes awarded at 8 pm.
• Downtown will be hopping with live music, food booths, pubs, dining, and shopping.
• Join the victory line outside the Abilene Convention Center at 6:15 pm to celebrate the city’s first responders, who will be polishing off a free dinner inside.
• The Stars & Stripes Parade downtown starts at 6:30 pm,
• Live music on Cypress Street will start immediately after the parade, with street dancing to the tunes by Jordan Nix, followed by Braxton Keith.
• Catch the patriotic action flick, “Independence Day” at the historic Paramount Theatre at 7:30 pm. You can munch on the best popcorn in town while you watch heroes save the day.
July 4: Freedom Festival Day 2, Taylor County Expo Center:
• Gates to the grounds will open at 3 pm, and guests can dine on tasty treats from food trucks, browse vendors and enjoy activities for kids. The Sweetwater Jaycees will host a Freedom Festival cook-off. All first responders, active-duty military, veterans, frontline workers, and their immediate family get in free.
• Live music in the Taylor County Expo Center Outdoor Pavilion will start at 4:45 pm with Jerrod Medulla; Chris Colston will play at 6:40 pm; and country music superstar Neal McCoy will hit the stage 8:40 pm.
Get out, enjoy friends and family, and celebrate freedom. God bless America!
Note from Abilene Freedom Festival organizers:
The Abilene Freedom Festival Committee has no control over when the holiday fireworks show is scheduled. That date is determined by a contract between Wes-Tex Connect and the City of Abilene. All Freedom Festival activities and concerts will go on as planned.