(July 4, 2012)—From Belton’s more than 150-year-old parade to Fort Hood’s Independence Day blast to Temple’s Family Fun Fest to Waco’s riverside party, Central Texas offers plenty of Fourth of July options.
Mother Nature shouldn’t interfere with this year’s celebrations.
Temperatures will be in the mid 70s at the start of the day and in the upper 90s by afternoon under a mostly sunny sky.
Belton: Patriotic Program, Parade And Festival
Belton knows how to throw a Fourth of July party and the festivities start Wednesday with a parade that’s expected to attract about 30,000 spectators.
The parade dates back to 1850 and it’s been an annual event since 1919.
Fort Hood Commander Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell, Jr., will be the featured speaker at a patriotic program at 9 a.m. at the courthouse in Belton before the parade, which begins at 10 a.m. and 10th and Main.
After the parade the fun will continue at the Festival on Nolan Creek.
There’s also a carnival at Confederate Park and the annual PRCA Rodeo begins Thursday at the Bell County Expo Center.
Fort Hood: Freedom Fest
Fort Hood’s annual Freedom Fest at Sadowski Field Wednesday is capped off by a performance by American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson and a fireworks show.
The fun kicks off at 1 p.m., lasts until 10 p.m., and includes carnival rides, miniature stock car racing, a fishing pond, a climbing wall and inflatables.
The fireworks show will last about 30 minutes and will be choreographed to a variety of patriotic tunes.
Weapons, firearms, alcohol, fireworks, knives, pets and glass containers will not be allowed, a Freedom Fest organizer said.
Visitors without military ID are encouraged to access Fort Hood by using off-post shuttle buses, which will be at Ellison and Shoemaker High Schools.
Visitors entering Fort Hood in their own vehicles will need to obtain temporary passes before entering the gates.
Temple: Family Fun Fest At Miller Park
The H-E-B 4th of July Family Fun Fest at Miller Park on North 1st Street in Temple begins at 4 p.m. on Wednesday and lasts until 10:30 p.m.
Families can play at the splash pad, ride a mechanical bull, dunk someone in the dunking tank, visit a variety of vendors and enjoy live rock and country music.
Temple Mayor Bill Jones will address the crowd at 6 p.m. and a professional fireworks show begins at 9:3 p.m.
Waco: Fourth On The Brazos
Waco’s annual Fourth on the Brazos bash gets underway at 6:30 p.m. and continues until 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, featuring live music, arts, crafts, inflatables and the Corndog Classic Eating Competition, which begins at 8 p.m.
The H-E-B Fireworks Extravaganza begins at 10 p.m.
The fireworks will be shot to the northwest of the Suspension Bridge and organizers say the best places to watch are both sides of the river, the Washington Avenue Bridge and downtown parking lots.
Downtown streets will close at approximately 6 p.m. for the event.
Free parking is available at City Hall, Heritage Square, the Alico Building, the McLennan County Courthouse, and the grass lot next to the Fire Training Station on University Parks.
Handicap parking will be available at Ben E. Keith Distribution and at the Convention Center on the corner of North 3rd Street and Washington.
Fireworks and pets will not be permitted.
The fireworks show will air live on the city cable channel and will be streamed live on the city’s website.