Home Editor's Picks Fourth of July: Republic Services Arizona Celebration of Freedom in Mesa

Fourth of July: Republic Services Arizona Celebration of Freedom in Mesa

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Last year's fireworks at the Republic Services Arizona Celebration of Freedom in Mesa. (City of Mesa)

The Republic Services Arizona Celebration of Freedom is guaranteed to be a night of spectacular free fun and entertainment in Mesa. The festival, which celebrates America’s freedom and independence, will be from 6 to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, July 4 at the Mesa Convention Center and Mesa Amphitheatre campus, 263 N. Center St., and along Center Street between First Street and University Drive.

Last year’s inflatable water slide at the Republic Services Arizona Celebration of Freedom in Mesa. (City of Mesa)

“The Arizona Celebration of Freedom is the coolest Fourth of July party in Arizona,” Mayor John Giles said. “I’m always excited to kick off the fireworks show and participate in the naturalization ceremony where we welcome new citizens to the United States. I can’t think of a better day to become an American.”

For the third consecutive year, the Republic Services Arizona Celebration of Freedom will include a naturalization ceremony on July 4 at 7 p.m. at the Mesa Convention Center, 263 N. Center St. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will welcome 150 new U.S. citizens from more than 15 countries including Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom and Iraq. Mayor Giles and Vice Mayor David Luna will participate in the ceremony.

In addition to the naturalization ceremony, the Mesa Convention Center will also be hosting a historical presentation of the flags of the United States. Also, the Sertoma Club of Mesa is sponsoring a 10-question civics test for those interested in seeing how they would fare if they applied for citizenship. There are 100 possible questions used by USCIS and candidates are asked up to 10 questions during their interview. All 100 questions are available for study at www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learners/study-test.

For more information about the naturalization ceremony, contact USCIS Public Affairs Officer Maria Elena Upson at 602-462-2503, 214-208-7765 or meg.upson@uscis.dhs.gov.

The main event

For the fourth consecutive year, the 2017 Republic Services Arizona Celebration of Freedom includes live music, patriotic displays, Revolutionary War reenactments, family fun, fireworks and more. For more information, visit www.azcelebrationoffreedom.org.

The temperatures may be hot, but you can stay cool at the event with the KOOL Zones, sponsored by KOOL-FM, that include misting fans, a Mesa Fire and Medical Department spray truck and an air-conditioned Valley Metro bus. There will be lots of activities, displays and events inside of the Mesa Convention Center.

Attractions

  • Musical entertainment on two different stages: Stage America, the main stage at the Mesa Amphitheatre, and the Stars and Stripes Stage, located on the grass near Center Street and Second Street. Entertainment includes Young Country, Sugar Thieves, Shallow Water and Arizona’s own 108th Army Band.
  • The Salute to America program at 9:10 p.m. will feature patriotic music. This will be followed at approximately 9:30 p.m. by the Fireworks Extravaganza with fireworks to the music of the 108th Army Band.
  • A naturalization ceremony by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at 7 p.m. in the Mesa Convention Center Centennial Hall will welcome 158 new U.S. citizens representing 38 countries. The Mesa City Band will perform prior to the ceremony at 6:30 p.m. and afterwards at 7:45 p.m.
  • One of the new attractions this year is the Freedom Express trackless train. Freedom Express, presented by SRP, Valley Metro, Stacy and Witbeck and Sundt, will offer free rides to children and adults.
  • Inside the air-conditioned Convention Center, you can go online and Imagine Mesa. It’s a new program that gives you a chance to help shape the future of Mesa by submitting your ideas, comments and support that will make your community awesome. Volunteers will help explain the process and get your input posted.
  • BYOWB: Bring Your Own Water Bottle. Stop by the Water Bottle Refill Station located outside the Mesa Amphitheatre and fill up your water bottle for free. Courtesy of Mesa Water Resources, you can stay cool and hydrated while you enjoy the celebration.
  • The Mesa Convention Center will host a historical presentation of the flags of the United States along with the Hall of Flags featuring flags from every state and our U.S. territories. There will be a special edition of World War I Centennial flags. There will also be opportunities to “sign” the U.S. Constitution and the Sertoma Club of Mesa is sponsoring a 10-question civics test for those interested in seeing how they would fare if they applied for citizenship.
  • A Revolutionary War reenactment at 6:45 p.m., 7:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. from the reenactment group We Make History. During the reenactments, black powder firearms will be in use. They are not dangerous to spectators but produce loud gunshot sounds.  Revolutionary War artifacts will be on display inside the Mesa Convention Center.
  • Fallen Soldier Memorial is a breathtaking memorial honoring the Arizona fallen heroes from the war on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. The memorial will be located inside the Mesa Convention Center.
  • Patriotic Military Showcase allows you to get up close and personal with a variety of military vehicles and learn more about how you can support our troops. The display will include Charlie Chopper, now based in Mesa, which flew combat missions during the Vietnam War.
  • Heroes Hangout will be held next to our celebration at The Oak Room, 61 E. University Drive. The event, hosted by Go*Vets Foundation, includes live entertainment, food tents, a beer garden and a putting contest for prizes. Heroes Hangout is a benefit for the foundation, which trains veterans in small business ownership, assists them in finding jobs and provides scholarships for vets to go back to school.
  • America’s Heritage Lane gives you the chance to walk through inflatable replicas of our national monuments, including the U.S. Capitol, White House, Independence Hall and Washington Monument. This is a place where you can be reminded of our great heritage and enjoy some great photo opportunities.
  • America’s Arts & Culture Showcase will have crafts and displays from the i.d.e.a. Museum, Arizona Museum of Natural History and Mesa Arts Center. There will also be a chalk artist who will invite kids to help her create a patriotic mural.
  • American Innovation Robotics features students and robotics from Westwood Robotics and Plasma Robotics.
  • Tailgate Zone will offer plenty of games for adults and kids to enjoy such as a radar speed pitch, tee ball, field goal kick and cornhole toss.
  • Celebration Splash Zone will have numerous inflatables and soak zones so you can have fun and cool down. A new feature is The General, a giant red, white and blue waterslide for the bigger kids. There is a height requirement to ride it.
  • All American Food Court will offer a variety of food and beverages for sale.

Parking, street closures

  • Free parking is available in all lots and on-street parking areas throughout downtown Mesa. ADA parking is in the lot at the northeast corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Way (MLK Way, formerly Third Place) and Center Street. Only vehicles with appropriate stickers or hangtags will be allowed in the lot.
  • The following streets will be closed or restricted from 5 p.m. Monday, July 3 to 5 a.m. Wednesday, July 5:
    • Center Street between First Street and University Drive
      • local traffic allowed 300 feet north of First Street
      • local traffic allowed from University Drive to MLK Way
      • post office access maintained
    • Second Street closed at Center Street
      • detour at Drew
  • Second Street west of Pasadena
    • westbound traffic will be detoured north or south on Pasadena
    • Pomeroy between University Drive and Second Street
      • local traffic allowed to apartments north of Second Street
  • Hibbert closed between University Drive and Second Street
  • Traffic will be detoured around the event via 1st Street, Country Club Drive, University Drive and Mesa Drive.

Public transit

  • Passengers can use light rail into downtown Mesa, exit at the Center and Main Street stop and travel north just two blocks on Center Street to reach the event.
  • Light rail will operate on the Sunday schedule for the Fourth of July with enhanced service beginning at 5 p.m. The last westbound train will depart Mesa Drive at approximately 12:35 am.
  • Buses will be operating on a Sunday schedule, except for Route 40 – Main Street.  It will have additional trips for event goers every 30 minutes until 11 p.m.

Information about bus service and light rail service is available at www.valleymetro.org or 602-253-5000.

If you are more adventurous, G.R.I.D. bikes are located at Main Street and Center Street and at Center Street and University Drive. View all stations at www.gridbikeshare.com.

For more information about the Republic Services Arizona Celebration of Freedom, including a complete list of items you can and cannot bring to the event, visit www.azcelebrationoffreedom.org.

– Kelly Mixer is managing editor of MyNewsMesa.com. Reach her at kmixer@mynewsmesa.com.

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