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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA to host several Fourth of July events

UA to host several Fourth of July events

As part of the annual Fourth of July festivities, the UA will host several events on Thursday, including a patriotic music performance and providing the perfect place to view fireworks.

Beginning at 3 p.m. in Centennial Hall, Arts Express will present its 29th annual patriotic production of “Let Freedom Sing”, a program designed to celebrate America and those who have contributed to its freedom, said Joan Ashcraft, artistic director for the production.

As local educational nonprofit, Arts Express’ mission is to change lives and build a better community by creating opportunities for children and adults to learn and experience the power of the arts, according to its website.

“Let Freedom Sing” celebrates Independence Day with a different theme every year. This year its theme, From Sea to Shining Sea, will showcase contemporary music, as well as American classics such as “The Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.” The production will include a jazz band, a choir with more than 100 members and local artists, such as the DixieCats and Big Band Express.

Also included in the patriotic performance will be a “Salute to the Armed Forces,” honoring active military members, their families and veterans, Ashcraft said. During this time, members of the armed forces will be asked to stand when they hear their service song, so the rest of the audience can cheer for them.

“It’s a very emotional experience to see them,” Ashcraft said. “Sometimes we have … veterans that come that have been injured during the war, and to see them stand, just moves you, you know emotionally. What they’ve given, the sacrifices they have made so we can be free.”

According to Keith Thorson, leader of the DixieCats and a veteran of WW2, most of the DixieCats’ group members are veterans.

“It doesn’t take a lot to get us out for historic [events] and these sort of parties,” Thorson said.

This year, the production will also honor the American Red Cross, because of its service to not only the United States in times of disaster, but internationally, Ashcraft said.

“It’s important to recognize those that have given so much of their lives to protect our freedoms,” Ashcraft said. “And I don’t think we do that enough.”

Following the production, Parking and Transportation Services will host its annual Fourth of July event, opening five parking garage rooftops to UA affiliates and their families to view the fireworks show from “A” Mountain.

Although the fireworks do not usually begin until 9 p.m., garages will open early for spectators at 6 p.m. Parking will be allowed on all levels except for the top level of Tyndall Avenue, Main Gate, Sixth Street, Park Avenue and Highland Avenue parking garages, according to the press release.

Attendees are invited to bring lawn chairs, as well as plenty of drinking water, said Bill Davidson, marketing manager for PTS.

However, alcohol, barbecues, cooking, fires, glass containers or sitting on walls will not be allowed.

Pets are permitted on leashes and must be kept in close proximity of their owners. Portable facilities will be set up at the entry area of the Highland Avenue garage, the bus bay area of Sixth Street garage and at the entry area of Main Gate garage, the press release said.

“The views from pretty much any of them are really good,” Davidson said, adding that the event has always been well attended, and provides a fun, family atmosphere.

“For me, of course the view is the best part, because I always get caught up in the fireworks,” Davidson said. “I know the few times that I’ve gone, I’m just amazed at how you can kind of see the whole city … you can’t really beat that.”

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