Firefighters’ freedom celebration set for June 29
By Traci Chapman
Historically held the last Saturday in June, this year’s event is set for June 29 at the Wild Horse Park soccer fields.
MFD’s Freedom Celebration’s scheduling is always a topic of social media commentary in the weeks leading up to the July Fourth holiday, because the event is held before Independence Day, or even before the city allows personal firework discharge – from June 27 through July 4.
That is one of the reasons for the late June scheduling, department officials said. With Mustang being one of the few communities in the area to allow personal fireworks discharge, that means several hundred people from neighboring communities travel to the city to purchase and set off fireworks. That ups the danger of related blazes, theoretically creating the necessity for “all hands on deck.”
“The firefighters simply could not host the bean supper for the community and respond to numerous fire calls – most often grass fires – within the city,” longtime deputy chief Roy Widmann, who recently retired after directing the annual event for several years, said. “The city supported a change in the date of the celebration, which was historically held on or near July 4, so we could host the event earlier, allowing the public fireworks display and still ensuring firefighters could respond to increased threat because of personal fireworks use.”
Known to longtime Mustang residents as the ‘bean supper,” firefighters in 2011 changed the name – when they stopped cooking 200 pounds of pinto beans annually, switching it out to pork and beans. In addition to that staple, the menu includes all you can eat hot dogs, chili, hips, watermelon and drinks.
In addition to the city’s popular fireworks display, the full-fledged event also features Roger Johnson the DJ, fire truck rides, children’s activities, area helicopters and storm spotter, vendors and more. Hundreds of people annually attend the event itself, with perhaps thousands more lining Mustang streets to watch the department’s fireworks display.
Freedom Celebration helps fund purchases not covered by the city’s regular budget, officials said, going to Mustang Oklahoma Firefighters Association. In the past, proceeds have been used to buy smaller items like rope, flashlights, helmets and more.
In addition to ticket sales, the department holds a raffle during the event to generate more funds. Local businesses and residents are welcome to donate items for that raffle, as well as cash, officials said.
MFD Freedom Celebrations begins at 6:30 p.m. June 29. Cost is $5 per person for anyone older than 5 years old.
Individual fireworks may be discharged in Mustang from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. June 27 through July 3 and from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Independence Day. Officials said residents in Mustang Public School District who live outside the city’s 12-square miles need to remember personal fireworks are illegal in both Oklahoma City and Yukon.
Freedom celebration tickets can be purchased at the gate or in advance at the fire department. For more information, contact Norma Brown at 376-9365.