Record crowds braved the heat Saturday to celebrate summer at the 12th annual Highland Village Days Red, White & Blue Festival in Highland Village.
The city estimates 16,000 people attended the event this year, making it the biggest and best event to date.
“Every aspect of the event this year exceeded our expectations. It just gets bigger and better each year,” said City Manager Michael Leavitt.
Attendees arrived early this year, with the on-site parking areas filling up by 6:45 p.m. Off-site parking was provided at Marcus High School with shuttle service to the park.
“Not only did we have more people at Copperas Branch Park, more watched the fireworks from the water, the parks across the lake in Hickory Creek and we had to close Pilot Knoll Park because it reached capacity,” said Leavitt.
The Red, White & Blue Festival is a community event staffed by city employees and sponsored by local businesses to help offset the costs of the event.
“This event is not what it is by accident and it certainly does not come together in a vacuum. Highland Village employees, from top to bottom, do a great job year to year. In times of budgetary tightening it is great that our community continues to have this family event. I am extremely proud of our Highland Village team,” said Mayor Scott McDearmont.
The Highland Village Days Red, White & Blue Festival began with a 1k/5k run sponsored by Marcus High School Cross Country and Track. The run benefits the Marcus High School Cross Country Booster Club.
The city stocks the pond at Unity Park with 600 pounds of catfish, provides poles and bate for the family fish out. Prizes are given for the first fish caught, the biggest fish and the most fish caught by a family.
The city also celebrates Arbor Day at the event with reading of an Arbor Day proclamation. Over 100 native Texas Redbud trees were given out free to those in attendance.
The afternoon event at Copperas Branch Park featured music by the Bart Crow Band and the Josh Abbott Band. Excite! Gym Cheer and Dance puts together the Kids Zone with fun activities for kids. This year’s featured attraction was a water slide. Food and drink were provided by local vendors. The night concluded with a fireworks show that many said is the best in the area.
Submitted by the City of Highland Village