Fishers Freedom Festival

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Last year, 50,000 people celebrated Independence Day at the 23rd Fishers Freedom Festival.

The crowd that swarmed the park was almost big enough to fill up Lucas Oil Stadium – a feat that would seem only accomplishable by an elite squad of NFL players.

Jennifer Kehl, executive director of Fishers Freedom Festival, hopes to see that kind of crowd again. Any more than that, and the event might be too big for Roy G. Holland Memorial Park – or even a Super Bowl-ready stadium – to handle.

This year, the festival features 140 craft vendors, 28 food vendors and more than 100 business vendors, and the theme is “Celebrating Fishers Spirit.”

Popular events return – including a 5K event (which had 1,300 participants last year, according to Kehl), the children’s tent and a disc dog competition.

Kehl said the two-day event will take more than 300 staff members and volunteers working in shifts to run.

24 years, 24 festivals

Tony Scott, vice president of the board of directors at Fishers Freedom Festival, said even though the festival is 24 years old, the festival’s concept – providing a venue for the community to come together and have a good time – hasn’t changed.

But what started as a small town event is now a behemoth by comparison.

In 1989, a group of Fishers residents looking to plan an event to bring the community together were catering to about 3,000 residents, according to Kehl.

Today, Fishers boasts more than 80,000 residents in more than 28,000 homes. In 1991, the Freedom Festival organizers formed a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation to independently plan the annual fest that takes over the Roy G. Holland Memorial Park, as well as other events throughout the year.

After 24 years of Fishers growing, Freedom Festival now accommodates a total of 268 vendors during the two-day period.

Tips for festival-goers from Fishers Freedom Festival Executive Director Jennifer Kehl:

-Take advantage of the free shuttle service to and from the park at the Fishers Municipal Complex and the Alhuda Foundation at Lantern Road and Sunblest Boulevard. The shuttle runs from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and after the fireworks show until 11:15 p.m. on Sunday.

-Bring the kids to the children’s tent. There’re always arts and crafts going on, and for one special event – the Children’s BMV – expect big lines.

-During the parade, please keep children out of the street. Safety is a priority.

-Stay hydrated throughout the weekend.

Kehl said the volunteering side of the festival is the easy part of organizing the two-day event. The difficulty is in accommodating the vendors.

“They don’t understand how much time and effort it does take, especially with all the vendors that we have,” Kehl said. “That’s the most challenging [aspect]– is trying to keep things going and trying to make everyone happy.”

Along with businesses trying to squeeze into already tight spaces, Kehl said there is a misconception among the public on how the festival is funded. Sponsors at different levels, such as XFinity, help make the festival financially possible.

This year, the festival has a budget of more than $250,000. Partnerships and sponsorships grew along with the festival – and the organization has been able to keep it free, Kehl said.

During the year, the Town of Fishers makes an annual contribution to the organization, and during the festival weekend, the town provides services – such as police support – to help handle logistics.

Scott said, “I think it’s a standard for the community now.”

 

This year’s Aaron’s Royal Court will be crowned on Saturday at 10 a.m. during opening ceremonies.

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This year’s Aaron’s Royal Court is:

King Caden Bachmann of Fishers Elementary
Prince Mark Elder of Fishers Elementary
Prince Marco Galarza of Fishers Elementary
Prince Andrew Lee of Thorpe Creek Elementary
Prince Matthew Myers of Brooks School Elementary

Queen Allison Klodzen of New Britton Elementary
Princess Amanda Cuellar of Lantern Road Elementary
Princess Ellie Lisa of Fishers Elementary
Princess Katrell Mae Readus of Lantern Road Elementary
Princess Kindell Jean Readus of Lantern Road Elementary

 

Fishers Freedom Festival – Schedule of Events

SATURDAY

6:30 a.m.

Indiana University Health 5K/2 Mile Family Walk

Packet pickup: Thursday and Friday, 4:30 to 7 p.m. – NEW LOCATION – Fishers Town Hall Auditorium

Fees after today:

-5K – $15 for ages 13 and older/$5 for ages 12 and under (bandana and timing chip included)

-2 Mile Walk – $10 age 13 and over/12 and under FREE (not timed, bandana included)

Proceeds support the Roy G. Holland Memorial Fund, Roy G. Holland Backpacks for Kids, the Hamilton Southeastern School District and future festivals, according to the official festival guide.

To register online visit getmeregistered.com/FISHERSFREEDOMFESTIVAL.

 

8:00 a.m.

Indiana University Health 5K Event and Family Walk

 8:30 a.m.

Indiana Disc Dog Classic registration

 8:45 a.m.

Allisonville Meadows Kiddie Run registration

Current in Fishers Information Tent opens

 9 a.m.

Allisonville Meadows Kiddie Run

TownePost.com Food Drive, Harris Bank School Supply Drive

Silent Auction

Juried Fine Arts and Crafts Booths

Food Vendors

Indiana Disc Dog Classic

10 a.m.

Opening Ceremonies

Marsh Supermarkets Business Vendors Tent

Community Health Network Children’s Tent

Incredi-Plex Kids’ Sports Zone

 10:30 a.m.

Entertainment Tent – Mik the Music Man

 11 a.m.

K-ID’s BMV

Discover Scuba

Water Balloon Launch

Hoosier Park Racing and Casino Climbing Wall

Bungee Trampoline

Kids Entertainment

Beer and Wine Garden opens

 11:45 p.m.

Master Yoo’s Tae Kwon Do demonstration

 12:15 p.m.

Hamilton County Law Enforcement K-9 demo

 1 p.m.

Indiana Starfire Cloggers

 2 p.m.

Tribute to Patsy Cline by Ginny Spillman

 3 p.m.

Grandmaster Lee’s Tae Kwon Do demonstration

 3:30 p.m.

Francie Bond Gospel Music Ministry

 4:30 p.m.

Jake Livingston

 5 p.m.

Life Connection Church Singers

 6 p.m.

Jai Baker

Teen Area – DJ and Dancing with Kal and Radio Now 100.9

 6:30 p.m.

Reynolds Farm Equipment Street Dance – “Whiskey Biscuits”

 

SUNDAY

 7:30 a.m.

Indiana Disc Dog Classic registration

8 a.m.

Ashley Whippet Invitational World Championship Qualifier

Entertainment Tent – Nondenominational Church

9 a.m.

Current in Fishers Newspaper Information Tent opens

Food Vendors open for the day

Ashley Whippet Invitational World Championship Qualifier

 9:30 a.m.

Children’s Parade Lineup

TownePost.com Food Drive and Harris Bank School Supply Drive Tent

Silent Auction

10 a.m.

Children’s Parade

Marsh Supermarkets FREE Game Booths

Juried Fine Arts and Crafts Booths

 11 a.m.

Community Health Network Children’s Tent

Water Balloon Launch Game and Climbing Wall

Bungee Trampoline

Discover Scuba

Kids Entertainment

 12 p.m.

Beer and Wine Garden opens

Entertainment Tent – Follow and Feel Band

I-ID’s BMV

 12:30 p.m.

Bake-Off – Homemade Hors d’oeuvres

 1 p.m.

Guitarist, Alex Nelson

Bake-Off Judging

 1:30 p.m.

G. Scotten Talent Center

Bake-Off winners announcement

 3 p.m.

Xfinity Main Parade Lineup

 4 p.m.

Xfinity Main Parade

 6 p.m.

Tethered Hot Air Balloon rides

Teen Area – DJ and Dancing with Kal and Radio Now 100.9

 6:30 p.m.

Big Daddy Caddy

 Dusk

Fireworks

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