June 12, 2017
Celebrate Freedom at the 2017 Spirit of America Festival at Point Mallard Park
At the height of summer comes a special time when Americans join together to celebrate our nation’s freedom and to pause and reflect on the sacrifices military personnel and their families make every day. Each Fourth of July, the Spirit of America Festival attracts thousands of families to Point Mallard Park in Decatur for one of North Alabama’s largest, free fireworks show. In 2017, the Festival will celebrate its 51st anniversary!
Spirit of America Awards Luncheon
More than just a Fourth of July fireworks celebration, the Festival developed an awards program to pay honor to the true meaning of the day for involved community members and philanthropic groups. The Spirit of America Awards Luncheon, sponsored by U.S. Foods and WoodmenLife, will be held on Monday, July 3, 2017, at 12:00 P.M. at Ingalls Harbor Pavilion. This invitation-only event will include the presentation of five awards to deserving citizens.
Named in honor of America’s most decorated soldier and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, Audie Murphy, the Audie Murphy Patriotism Award is presented to an outstanding American patriot or an outstanding group of individuals who best exemplify the true “Spirit of America.”
The Barrett C. Shelton, Sr. Freedom Award was established in 1980 to honor local newspaper publisher Barrett C. Shelton, Sr., one of the founders of the Spirit of America Festival. The award is presented to honor an Alabamian for outstanding service to his/her community.
Added in 1994, the Humanitarian Award is presented to an individual, group, or organization whose efforts have significantly contributed to the betterment of life, health, and welfare of mankind and state.
In 2011, the Spirit of America Festival Board of Directors introduced a new award named in honor of its first recipients, the CSM John and Brenda Perry Award for Support for Military Families. This accolade recognizes the significant contributions and sacrifices that military families make, all in the support of their loved ones who serve in our nation’s Armed Forces. The CSM John and Brenda Perry Award gives much needed acknowledgement to a person, group, or organization that has significantly supported military families in our North Alabama community.
The newest award, added in 2015, is the Bill J. Dukes Award and is named in honor of the former Decatur Mayor and House of Representative member.
Award winners will be announced in the coming weeks.
Spirit of America Festivities
Decatur’s free Independence Day celebration kicks off on July 4th with the Children’s Bike Parade where patriotically decorated bikes, tricycles, wagons, and strollers will make their way from the T.C. Almon Center to the Expo Pavilion (former Outdoor Ice Rink). There is no fee to participate in the Bike Parade; however, registration is required and will begin at 9:00 A.M. at T.C. Almon. First, second, and third place prizes for best decorated will be presented during an awards ceremony at the Expo. After the parade, children and their families are invited to enjoy games and play on inflatables from 10:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. The Children’s Bike Parade is sponsored by Chick-fil-A of Decatur.
Families are also invited to enjoy a day at the Point Mallard Waterpark, home to America’s first wave pool! The J. Gilmer Blackburn Aquatic Center offers a kiddy pool area, pro bowl slide, sky pond, lazy river, flume slides, and speed slides. The Waterpark will remain open until 8:00 P.M. and requires a separate admission charge. Following a fun-filled day, guests can walk over to the Spirit of America field to enjoy the fireworks.
The field will open to guests at 6:00 P.M. with free admission, so that families can pick out a prime viewing location to enjoy the dazzling fireworks show that begins at 9:00 P.M. Local vendors will be selling lemonade, shaved ice, funnel cakes, pizza, hamburgers, and hotdogs. Guests are reminded to please leave pets, tents, and golf carts at home. Handicapped and VIP event sponsor parking are available at the Ice Rink. Sponsor and/or handicapped parking passes must be shown to event officials to access these areas.
WDRM 102.1 FM. will simulcast the fireworks show.
NARCOG Transit will provide shuttle service for the fireworks display. Shuttles will run from two locations:
- GE Plant on Point Mallard Parkway – 2328 Point Mallard Dr. SE – (5 – 10 minute trip)
- Downtown Decatur – Pickup from the Princess Theatre – 112 Second Ave. NE – (15 minute trip)
The shuttle will operate from 6:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. on the day of the event, July 4, 2017. The last call for downtown parking will be at 10:45 P.M. FIRM.
Shuttle wristbands are $2 and are good for unlimited rides to and from the event site, allowing for especially easy access when leaving the event. Correct change must be used. Drivers do not carry change and do not accept debit or credit cards. Wristbands may be purchased before the event at the NARCOG Transit Office, located at 401 2nd Ave SE, Decatur, AL. Office hours are 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Monday through Friday.
This service is open to the public and does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, height, weight, physical or mental ability, veteran status, military obligations, or marital status.
The 2017 Spirit of America Festival fireworks show is made possible through the support of presenting sponsors Hexcel, Pepsi, the Morgan County Commission and Decatur Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
More About the Spirit of America Festival
Point Mallard Park is located at 2901 Point Mallard Drive in Decatur, Alabama along the scenic banks of the Tennessee River. For more information, please call 256-341-4902 or visit the Spirit of America Facebook page.