If you're looking for a quintessential American experience for July 4th, look no further than Freedom Fest at McNair Field.
The free community event, which begins at 10 a.m. on July 4th, is a collaboration between the Towns of Rutherfordton, Forest City, Spindale, Ellenboro and Bostic along with the Chamber of Commerce, Rutherford Town Revitalization and the Forest City Owls.
How the event came about was, perhaps, a stroke of luck.
"The Town of Rutherfordton had decided not to do something this year, and Phil Dangel, the new owner of the Forest City Owls had asked what the Town of Forest City did for the Fourth," said Amy Bridges, downtown development director for the Town of Forest City.
From there, the event began to grow into a community fest, she said, involving multiple towns and organizations.
"We really pooled our resources to have a fun, family event," she said.
Cindy Adair, director of Rutherford Town Revitalization, said it is the first time all the municipalities have come together for an event that isn't about just one town.
"It's really about the community," she said. "We're trying to create memories. McNair Field is a great location because it's neutral territory."
Dangel said the event provides yet another way for the Forest City Owls organization to be involved in the community.
"In years past we might not have been as involved in the community, but we are sure going to make sure we are now," Dangel said. "The Fourth of July is about being with your family, swimming, eating hot dogs, watching baseball and fireworks. We are providing every piece of that that we can."
The event will include music and contests. Kids can test how fast they pitch, and a dunking booth will be on site. Coca-Cola will be at the event in the morning giving out games and prizes.
The fun doesn't end at 3 p.m. Those who choose to may re-enter the stadium at 4 p.m. for a home run derby and the baseball game between the Owls and the Gastonia Grizzlies. Following the game will be one of the four fireworks shows scheduled this season.
"This will be by far the biggest and best fireworks display of the season," Dangel said.
Vendors may still take part in the event, Bridges said. Those who would like to take part may download an application on the Rutherford Town Revitalization website, rutherfordtown.com.
Other Fourth of July events in the area:
Lake Lure - Fireworks will be held over the lake on July 3. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. from the Beach at Lake Lure. Fireworks may be seen from the beach or Morse Park Meadows.
Chimney Rock Park - From Saturday, July 2, to Monday, July 4, meet some of Grady's woodland friends at Family Animal Encounters. Then, enjoy one free climb per person on the Climbing Tower.
Kings Mountain - Revolutionary 4th will be held all day on July 4. The patriotic event will include a gathering of more than 20 Revolutionary re-enactor militias and the largest fireworks show between Charlotte and Asheville. A large mock cannon battle will be held prior to the fireworks, as well as patriotic music.
Columbus - The Town will celebrate its 54th Fourth of July Celebration, which includes family, fun, food and entertainment and ends with a fireworks display. The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.