BARTLESVILLE — Downtown Bartlesville’s July 4 celebration, Freedom Fest, will be bigger and better than ever in 2017, organizers said, and the group is looking for local heroes in Pawhuska to honor.

The annual family-friendly, patriotic event is presented by the Downtown Kiwanis Club of Bartlesville, along with the Knights of Columbus and the city of Bartlesville. It is downtown Bartlesville’s largest annual festival.

Freedom Fest co-chair Sharon Hurst said the celebration along Second Street in downtown Bartlesville will bring back a popular part of the patriotic event — honoring local heroes.

“In year’s past at Freedom Fest we have honored military veterans in general,” Hurst said. “It is our intention this year to recognize those who are not only military veterans, but also active duty members of our military who serve heroically and other heroes who have unselfishly served their fellow citizens in extraordinary ways. Our local communities are fortunate to have numerous heroes. There’s no better time than July 4th to say ‘thank you’ to these as we remember all our nation’s heroes from its birthday onward.”

The Freedom Fest committee is seeking public assistance in identifying three types of heroes throughout Washington, Osage and Nowata counties — veterans and active military members who have served and are serving our country, police and firefighters who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving the public, and community members who have saved someone’s life.

Deadline for submission of a local hero is May 30. The hero will receive top-notch treatment during Freedom Fest with a hospitality suite at Tate Boys’ Tire and Service at Second Street and Johnstone Avenue, a special tribute, recognition in local media and VIP seating for the largest fireworks display in recent history.

Hurst said anyone who believes they know such a hero can submit the information using an online form at www.bartlesvillefreedomfest.org. Nominees can also send their name and contact information, along with details about a local hero (name, title or rank, branch of service or organization, plus a sentence or two about their service), to info@bartlesvillefreedomfest.org or by mail to 414 SE Washington Blvd., PMB 199, Bartlesville, OK 74006. Questions about the hero recognition can be answered by calling the Freedom Fest hotline at 918-977-3400, ext. 2.

Freedom Fest co-chair Karen Wilson said this is a great time for families to recognize their loved ones who have served in heroic ways.

“We have so many people who have given so much back to the communities in Osage, Washington and Nowata counties,” Wilson said. “Whether they be a military veteran or are on active service, local police and firefighters or just an everyday person who did something extraordinary to save the life of someone else, we want families to have the ability to recognize the service of their loved ones.”

For more information about Freedom Fest, visit www.bartlesvillefreedomfest.org.