By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Killeen Daily Herald

Despite a fireworks ban that is spreading across the state, Fort Hood’s Freedom Fest is expected to go as planned in two weeks.

The annual event draws crowds of about 100,000 every year and is touted as one of the largest fireworks displays in Texas.

This is the first time the event will take place outside of Hood Stadium, which was demolished in August to make way for the new Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center. The location for this year’s Freedom Fest is Sadowski Field, the parade field between III Corps headquarters and Tank Destroyer Boulevard.

Fort Hood emergency personnel evaluated the location, wind and weather conditions, Fort Hood officials said Tuesday, and Freedom Fest will continue as scheduled.

“The fireworks team that Fort Hood is using has more than 30 years experience, and feel it is safe to proceed,” according to a statement from the III Corps Public Affairs Office.

The statement added that officials plan to water down the field where the fireworks will be lit. The area is surrounded by dirt, with no structures or grass fields nearby.

The wind blows from the south, and if any debris blows north, it will land in the vacant lot where the new medical center is set to be located.

“We will have numerous brush trucks on standby,” officials said.

Officials will reevaluate the situation if conditions change.

Freedom Fest begins at 1 p.m. July 4, and includes performances by swing band Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and rockers Ordained and Anchored.

The day also includes free carnival rides, laser tag, miniature stock car racing, concessions, family activities, arts and crafts vendors, a salute to the nation and much more, according to information from Fort Hood’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. with a 30-minute continuous display to accompanying music.

Freedom Fest is free and open to the public. Buses will bring visitors on post and stops are located at Killeen, Shoemaker and Ellison high schools.

The post will be on an “relaxed entry” status from noon to 10 p.m. the day of the event, according to Fort Hood officials. The Main and Clear Creek gates will be open to the public and all IDs will be checked.

For more information on Freedom Fest, go to www.hoodmwr.com or call (254) 286-5342.