By Sam Elliott
The annual Fishers Freedom Festival was just the beginning of the city’s Fourth of July celebrations this summer, with the upcoming holiday weekend offering residents many more opportunities for food, fun, music and fireworks to celebrate Independence Day.
Celebration at Saxony
Sunday, July 3
The seventh annual Saxony Independence Celebration Concert and Fireworks presented by IU Health Saxony returns to Witten Park, 13257 Saxony Blvd., July 3.
Local cover band and event mainstay in recent years My Yellow Rickshaw will kick off the festivities with live music beginning at 7 p.m.
“They’ll play for about three hours and then the fireworks should start right around 10 p.m. as soon as it gets dark,” Saxony Marketing Manager Candi McKinnies-Shreve said.
There will be food trucks on site, and coolers also are allowed for people to bring their own food and beverages.
“We just started out with a simple event we just wanted to bring the community together and we decided to do it on July 3 because we didn’t want to compete with the large events on July 4,” McKinnies-Shreve added. “Now it’s developed into its own very large event out here — and it’s all free. Just bring your lawn chairs and blankets and such and family and friends and come on out to enjoy a free evening in the park with a concert and fireworks.”
Parking is available in the main lot off of 134th Street and Olio Road. Handicap parking is available near Witten Park.
The event has seen its crowd increase each year since its inception, with last year’s concert and fireworks drawing approximately 12,000 visitors.
“The year before that it was around 8,000, so we’ve seen a steady increase every year,” Saxony Marketing Manager Candi McKinnies-Shreve said.
Blast on the Bridge
Monday, July 4
Another area tradition, Blast on the Bridge, offers residents another opportunity for food, fun, fireworks and fundraising for a local cause.
“It’s at one of Fishers’ most iconic and unique locations at Geist Reservoir,” Fishers Director of Parks and Recreation Tony Elliott said. “And it’s a really cool bookend to the Fourth of July week for us with the Fishers Freedom Festival opening the week and then these fireworks kind of closing the week.”
The Fall Creek Road bridge over Geist Reservoir will be closed to traffic at approximately 4 p.m. July 4, with Blast on the Bridge beginning at 6 p.m. and fireworks scheduled for dusk near 10 p.m. The event has drawn crowds of nearly 15,000 in years past.
“Blast on the Bridge is a really, really unique event at a unique location. You just don’t get to see fireworks over the lake too often,” Elliott said. “There are different places around the Fall Creek Bridge where people can park, and it creates a really unique journey to the bridge as families all walk toward the reservoir.
There are a number of different food vendors from restaurants and one of the major sponsors this year is Michelob Ultra through Terrance Smith Distributing, so people have an opportunity to grab a beer and hang out on the bridge. People can take their own food and non-alcoholic drinks and it’s a really cool walk as you go out there. It’s a unique opportunity to set up on the bridge over the reservoir, and it’s just kind of a hang-out festival atmosphere.”
The event’s best bets for parking include Holy Spirit Parish at Geist, 10350 Glaser Way, at the strip mall at 96th and Olio Road.
Fundraise for clean water
Blast on the Bridge also serves as a fundraiser for the Geist Lake Coalition, which uses the funds raised to support its reservoir water cleanup projects.
“They want to preserve the environmental quality and the health of Geist Reservoir, so the money they raise goes toward different cleanup efforts or dredging projects,” Elliott said. “This summer they’re working on some projects up the creek that feeds into the reservoir and they’ve done some work out there with some bank stabilization. They just try to preserve that environmental health and quality at Geist so people can continue to boat and swim and enjoy the reservoir for years to come.”