CEDAR RAPIDS — Some things old, some things new, some things borrowed and lots of red, white and blue. That’s what’s in store for the 30th anniversary of the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival.
The celebration gets under way June 21 to 23 with the return of the Dock Dogs canine aquatic contest, moving to Kirkwood Community College, and the new Sand in the City sand sculpture contest at NewBo City Market.
“We’re excited to bring Sand in the City to Cedar Rapids,” says Brandon Busbee, the Freedom Festival’s marketing and operations director. “It’s been in the Corridor, but this is our first time bringing it to Cedar Rapids and making it part of our festival.”
The Dock Dogs competition premiered last year and generated so much excitement that the governing group proclaimed Cedar Rapids the site for this year’s Midwest Regional Championships.
“The community really liked it and really embraced it,” Busbee says. “We just had to bring that back.”
Next to waving flags and fireworks, nothing says Fourth of July like patriotic music.
“We’re incorporating not only one military band, but we were lucky to get a second one, as well,” Busbee says. “The U.S. Navy Band will march in the parade, play a rock concert in the evening (June 29) and play in the Patriotic Pops Concert at the Paramount. Then the U.S. Air Force Band will be headlining the concert downtown before the fireworks. We’re excited to have two military bands, since we haven’t had one since 2010.”
NewBo Market will be the site for several events June 29, beginning with a flag retirement ceremony at 4 p.m., followed by the U.S. Navy Rock Band concert and the revamped Music Night, featuring Simpleton & Cityfolk from Chicago. All of the concerts will be free with a $3 Freedom Festival button.
The buttons, designed by local artist Dan Schuster of Design Trust, will go on sale May 24 at all local Hy-Vee Food & Drug Stores and Casey’s General Stores. Scattered among the buttons are gold ones that qualify the buyer for prizes, including a trip for two to Mexico.
Kicking the party into overdrive is a raffle where one lucky ticket holder will drive off with a 2013 KIA Soul. Tickets go on sale May 20 at the Freedom Festival office, 226 Second St. SE.
The two-week festival typically brings 350,000 to 400,000 people to town, generating between $10 million and $12 million in economic impact, Busbee says.
For more event information, go to FreedomFestival.com or call (319) 365-8313.
— June 21 to 23: Jump for Freedom, Dock Dogs canine aquatic jumping contest, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Kirkwood Community College
— June 21 to 23: Sand in the City, sand sculpture contest, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., NewBo City Market
— June 25: Balloon Glow, 5:30 to 10 p.m., Brucemore
— June 27: Tribute to Heroes Dinner, 7 p.m., The Hotel at Kirkwood Center
— June 29: Imagination Square, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Greene Square Park; Freedom Festival Parade, 10 a.m., downtown Cedar Rapids
— June 29: At NewBo City Market: Flag retirement ceremony, 4 p.m.; U.S. Navy Rock Band concert, 5 p.m.; Music Night, 8 p.m., with Simpleton & Cityfolk from Chicago, free with button
— June 30: Patriotic Pops, 4 p.m., Paramount Theater, featuring 45-piece U.S. Navy Great Lakes Wind Ensemble, free with button
— July 2: Movie Night at the Ballpark, 7 p.m., Veterans Memorial Stadium, showing “Sandlot,” free with button
— July 4: Downtown Cedar Rapids: Pancake breakfast, 8 to 11 a.m.; KidZone and Ferris wheel, food and beverages, 4 p.m.; U.S. Air Force Rock Band concert, 7 p.m.; car raffle winner announced, 9:30 p.m.; 30th Anniversary Fireworks Show, 10 p.m.