The Freedom Fest crowd oohed and aahed as the fireworks burst over Doenges Stadium late July 4. It was the perfect ending to Bartlesville annual Fourth of July festival Wednesday in downtown Bartlesville.


The festival, organized by the Kiwanis Club of Bartlesville and presented by the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, packed a lot of fun and freedom into approximately 3 1/2 hours July 4.


The Stars of Freedom Fest, an American Idol-like, singing competition took center stage immediately after the opening ceremony. In the first round, the 10-13 year-old age group took to the stage. After a short intermission, the other age groups performed. The Stars of Freedom Fest was organized by Bartlesville-based Everett Music Studio, which was founded by D’Lynn Everett.


During the intermission, Freedom Fest organizers conducted a Patriotic costume contest and saluted community heroes.


The heroes receiving honors included Linda Culp, U.S Marine Corps; Kevin R. Williams, U.S. Army; Stevie Payne, U.S. Army; Merline Roy Black Jr., U.S. Navy; Alexander Eck, U.S. Army; John Banks, Bartlesville Fire Department, Cody Halcom, U.S. Army; David Valdez, U.S. Army; Phillip Strosahl, U.S. Army; Walter L. Pettiford, U.S. Army; Byran Redburn, U.S. Army; and Larry Miller, U.S. Marine Corps.


The heroes were nominated by friends and family online.


Freedom Fest also featured a variety of vendors, food vendors, inflatables and a Bartlesville fire truck that sprayed water for kids and adults to play under.


With temperatures in the mid 90s, the fire truck and an inflatable water slide were huge hits at Freedom Fest.