July 13, 2012

Luke celebrtes freedom

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Jason Colbert
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Gabrielle Hoffman, 7, Lauren Granata, 10, and Grace Hoffman, 4, pose in patriotic style July 4 during Freedom Fest at Luke Air Force Base. Participants enjoyed prizes, games, a splash zone, demonstrations by the 56th Security Forces Squadron military working dogs and fireworks during the celebration.

The base held its annual Freedom Fest event July 4 at Fowler Park. Events included face painting, music, concessions, dancing and fireworks.

The 56th Force Support Squadron began setting the stage for the activities two days before the event. Event staff staked out spots and put up booths. Finally, an operations check of everything was performed.

The festivities began in the afternoon at the Silver Wings Pool. The rest of the party kicked off a few hours later at Fowler Park with remarks from Brig. Gen. JD Harris, 56th Fighter Wing commander.

“Happy Fourth of July everyone,” he said before the four-ship flyover by the 62nd Fighter Squadron. “What a perfect evening for a celebration.”

Prior to the fireworks, Harris again took the stage.

“At this time, I’d like to say a special thank you to the brave men and women deployed in harm’s way,” he said. “These brave troops carry on a legacy that has been ongoing since 1776. You are in our thoughts always.”

The Dina Preston Band provided music and members of the Luke Experience Theater Group performed musical and dance numbers. Games and prize giveaways were ongoing prior to the main event, fireworks, which began after sunset.

The 62nd Fighter Squadron performs a four-ship flyover to open the festivities.

Matthew Secaira, 1, gets his face painted during Freedom Fest. Children waited in line up to 20 minutes at the event held in Fowler Park.

Ivan Hochhalter, 4, jumps into an inflatable splash house to cool off at Freedom Fest at Luke. Children were treated to face painting, music and a performance by the Luke Experience Theater Group.

A fireworks show closed out the activities of the 2012 Freedom Fest celebration at Luke Air Force Base.

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