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Freedom Blast sparks celebration of music, military and fireworks

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Friday, June 23, 2017

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Uncle Sam Wants You ... to come to Freedom Blast at City Park Saturday.
 

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Uncle Sam Wants You ... to come to Freedom Blast at City Park Saturday.

 



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An Abrams tank drew a crowd last year.
 

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An Abrams tank drew a crowd last year.

 



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One thing for sure – any celebration at the park with music, patriotism and fireworks draws a crowd.
 
 

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One thing for sure – any celebration at the park with music, patriotism and fireworks draws a crowd.

 

 



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Saluting veterans and active military is the theme of Greer's Freedom Blast.
 

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Saluting veterans and active military is the theme of Greer's Freedom Blast.

 



“At the end of the day, all a veteran really wants is to hear is thank you.”
The late Preston Johnson, former S.C. Disabled American Veterans Commander

This is the 9th year Greer has celebrated Freedom Blast, coinciding with the opening of the new City Hall and its expansive park in 2008.

The city’s celebration moniker comes from saluting veterans and active military personnel. It begins Saturday at 6 p.m. and ends approximately 10:30 p.m. after the fireworks.

The city’s website promotes the early date as “traditionally held the Saturday before the Fourth of July.” This year it is separated 10 days from July 4.

Take that as a great opportunity to get the flavor of the holidays in advance and enjoy more celebrations when June turns into July.

Before we go further let’s give a shout out to Restaurant Row (Trade Street) and the Wild Ace Pizza and Pub, Rivera's and Great Bay Oyster Bar. The 6 p.m. festival start gives families ample time to eat – but best of all find a parking spot. All public parking is free in Greer.

All the restaurants have signature desserts, but we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Abbott’s Frozen Custard on Poinsett Street, just steps away from the entrance to City Park.

Now about the Freedom Blast.

There’s a lot to fit in 4 ½ - hours.

Entertainment begins at 6 with bluegrass band My Girl, My Whiskey & Me. Power 2 Party, a cover band of hits past and present plays sets at 7:30 and 9:10 p.m.

Consider the military vehicles, coordinated by Greer Police Sgt. Randle Ballenger (National Guard) including a Bradley fighting vehicle and Lakoka helicopter, climbing wall, historic artifacts displayed by veteran organizations on the park lawn, Kids Zone ($5 admission), and a pleasant walk around the park eyeballing other activities and displays.

An entire program saluting the Armed Services is one of a kind in the Upstate. The Preston Johnson Veterans Walk, about 8:30 p.m., is aptly named after a military hero and dear friend to the Disabled American Veterans until his death. Jim Hawkins, director of Greer DAV #39, leads the Veterans Walk from the fountain, toward City Hall, turn left toward the stage and gather beside the smaller stage. Notice the hats the veterans wear signaling the military campaigns they served.

Families should be comforted knowing that the City requests children under 16 be accompanied by an adult. No pets, per ordinance, are permitted.

 

 

 

 

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