2016 annual report


Freedom Blast fun is set for June 24 at City Park
The City of Greer will again usher in Independence Day more than a week early, hosting its Freedom Blast festival from 6-10:30 p.m. on June 24 at Greer City Park.

Designed as an opportunity for the upstate to celebrate not only freedom but the men and women who have and continue to make that freedom possible, the festival will again include a popular Military Tribute and the Preston Johnson Veterans Walk. Visitors will also enjoy one of the largest fireworks shows in South Carolina, an evening of live entertainment, food vendors offering festival fare, the return of a UH-72 helicopter and other army vehicles, and numerous activities for children.

“As Freedom Blast has grown and evolved over the past nine years, it has largely been shaped by feedback we’ve received not only from City of Greer residents but also from visitors from across the upstate,” Greer City Administrator Ed Driggers said. “Families have made Freedom Blast an annual outing to enjoy the fireworks, music, food and games. The one unanimous response is to keep the focus on our military and veterans. We’re proud to do exactly that and look forward to saluting those heroes on June 24.”

Power2Party to liven up the night

Power 2 Party, which is well known across the upstate for its energetic shows and covers of hits from both the past and present, will headline Freedom Blast with sets at 7:30 and 9:10 p.m. Band leader James Lucas said the opportunity to perform in front of more than 10,000 revelers who annually pack Greer City Park has the band looking forward to Freedom Blast.

“It absolutely does make this more exciting for us. Just knowing that we have been given this opportunity is truly a honor for us and we hope that we leave with new fans and the crowd will leave with smiles on their faces having had a great time,” Lucas said. “The crowd can expect a wide variety of music and very high energy selections ranging from the Blues Brothers to Journey to Bruno Mars and everything in between.  Our goal is to provide a range of music that allows us to touch everyone in the crowd, not just one target audience.”

Lucas added the band plans “to incorporate a couple of patriotic tunes into the mix in honor of those who have served our country.”

Organizers have added an opening act this year as the upstate’s own progressive bluegrass band, My Girl, My Whiskey & Me, launches its year-long national “50 in 52 Tour” at 6 p.m. on the Freedom Blast Main Stage. The eight days following Freedom Blast will see the band play in Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Wyoming and Oregon. Although the band expanded to five members earlier this year, co-founders George and Kelly Colyer will handle the bulk of the tour – a 51-week stretch – as a duo and living in their custom van.

The tour will support the band’s first full-length album, In the Ground, due out in mid-June.

“Freedom Blast is our kickoff and we’re going to kick it off with a blast,” George Colyer said, noting that he hopes the year-long tour will spark another album. “A lot of the greatest songwriters that we’ve personally met have been inspired from being on the road, whether from hopping trains or being in a bigger band touring the country. There are so many unique experiences that come out of that and you can’t experience it unless you do it.”

A time to honor service members and veterans

My Girl, My Whiskey & Me’s set will be followed by the Texas Road House Rib Eating Contest at 7:05 p.m. as FOX Carolina’s Joe Gagnon attempts to retain his crown in the adult division. The popular Military Tribute and Preston Johnson Veterans Walk will begin at 8:35. Veterans of any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces who would like to participate in the walk may meet at the park fountain no later than 8:15.

The annual Freedom Blast fireworks show accompanied by patriotic music in City Park will begin promptly at 10:10 p.m.

In addition to the Army helicopter, military displays in Greer City Park will feature an assortment of vehicles on display on E. Poinsett St, courtesy of the S.C. Army National Guard and vintage military vehicles provided by the Military History Center of the Carolinas. The Greer Chapter of Disabled American Veterans, American Legion Post 115, AMVETS, Service Dogs for Veterans and Stars for Our Troops will be on hand to provide support information for veterans.

The U.S. Air Force will join this year’s lineup with a mini motorized F-22 fighter jet and a flight simulator gaming trailer.

Give blood then have a funnel cake

Free crafts and activities are the attraction at Kids Zone, while unlimited fun on inflatable attractions and the rock climbing wall will be offered for $5 per child. Adults who purchase wristbands at the same price may climb a rock wall and challenge the spinning arms of the Meltdown attraction.

Visitors are encouraged to come hungry and purchase dinner and dessert from vendors lining the Greer City Park promenade. Pepsi and Budweiser will be available at beverage carts throughout the park and mister stations will provide a cool respite.

Guests will have an opportunity to give the gift of life from 6-10 p.m. as the Blood Connection seeks to keep pace with local hospitals’ summertime demand for blood.

Freedom Blast Website