Organizers gear up for July 4 Freedom Fest

Anita Jury, from Gilroy, is pulled by her donkey named Cookie Dough as she rides with the Jury Kick Ranchette group down Peak Avenue in the Morgan Hill Freedon Fest July Fourth Parade.

The sun is warming up in Morgan Hill, and that means the annual Fourth of July Freedom Fest is approaching.

The annual celebration of the nation’s Independence Day in Morgan Hill features full schedules of fun, fitness, entertainment and family time. 

Morgan Hill Freedom Fest, the local nonprofit that organizes the annual festivities which make up one of the biggest Independence Day celebrations in the Bay Area, is currently in the middle of fundraising efforts for this year’s events, according to Freedom Fest President Charles Weston. 

Not only will the celebration feature the traditional parade and fireworks on July 4. Revelers can prepare for the feasting and imbibing that are sure to accompany the holiday by cycling in the 100K, 30-mile, 13-mile or 6-mile Freedom Fest Bike Classic June 29. Or by running or walking in the 5K or 1K foot race early in the morning July 4. 

There’s even a way for prospective parade participants to prepare, at the May 11 parade workshop in which experts will share their knowledge of float building and marching. 

The events cost more than $145,000 to conduct each year, and require the assistance of more than 500 volunteers, Weston said. 

Organizers estimate that last year’s Morgan Hill Freedom Fest brought more than 150,000 into town from all over the Bay Area, Weston said. 

“Our parade dates back to 1896 when the town held a parade, picnic and horse race,” Weston said. “The parade is a hometown event dedicated to preserving our national and local heritage while celebrating our freedom.” 

For more information on the 2013 Morgan Hill Freedom Fest, or to make a donation, visit 

2013 Morgan Hill Freedom Fest

Schedule of events

Saturday, May 11

-Parade workshop: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Centennial Recreation Center, 171 W. Edmundson Ave.

Saturday, June 29

-Bike Classic 100K (7 a.m.), 30-mile (8 a.m.), 6-mile and 13-mile (9 a.m.), starting at Morgan Hill Coyote Creek Trail. 

Wednesday, July 3

-Patriotic Sing, 6 p.m., Britton Middle School Gym, 80 W. Central Ave.

-Family Music Fest, 7 to 10 p.m., Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center, 17000 Monterey Road.

Thursday, July 4

-1-mile walk/5K walk/run: Registration at P. A. Walsh Elementary School, 353 W. Main Ave., 6:30 to 7:45 a.m.

-Car Cruise and Show: Registration at Community and Cultural Center, 7:30 a.m. Car cruise at 9:30 a.m., car show at 10:30 a.m.

-Parade: Downtown Morgan Hill. Entertainment starts at 9 a.m. Parade starts at 10 a.m.

-Fireworks, Morgan Hill Community Park. Entertainment at 6 p.m. Fireworks at dark.