June 12, 2018
Celebrate Freedom at the 2018 Spirit of America Festival at Point Mallard Park
Every year in July, 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. Now in its 52nd year, the Spirit of America Festival has attracted thousands of families to Decatur for one of North Alabama’s largest free fireworks show in honor of Independence Day. The spectacular fireworks show will launch at 9 P.M. and families can arrive earlier to enjoy a patriotic bike parade and to make a splash at the Point Mallard water park!
Spirit of America Awards Luncheon
More than just a fireworks celebration on the 4th of July, an awards program was developed to pay honor to the true meaning of the day. The Spirit of America Awards Luncheon, sponsored by US Foods and WoodmenLife, will be held on Tuesday, July 3, at 12 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 patriotic decorated bikes, tricycles, wagons and strollers make their way from the TC Almon Center to the Expo Pavilion. 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. The Children’s Bike Parade is sponsored by Chick-fil-A of Decatur.
Families are invited to cool off and enjoy the fourth of July holiday at the Point Mallard water park. Open from 10 A.M. to 8 P.M. on July 4th, the J. Gilmer Blackburn Aquatic Center offers a kiddy pool area, pro bowl slide, sky pond, lazy river, flume slides, and speed slides. Admission is $20 for adults (12-61), $15 for children (ages 5-11), military (with ID) and seniors (62+), and free for children 4 years old and younger. Following a fun-filled day in the water park, guests can walk over to the Spirit of America field to enjoy the fireworks.
The Spirit of America Field (SOA) will open to guests at 3 P.M. so that families can pick out a prime viewing location to enjoy the fireworks show which is set to launch at 9 P.M. Local vendors will be there so that attendees may indulge on lemonade, shaved ice, funnel cakes, pizza, hamburgers or hotdogs. Guests are reminded to please leave pets at home and tents and golf carts are not allowed on the Spirit of America field. 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.
The night sky will be illuminated with North Alabama’s largest fireworks display beginning at 9 P.M. and will be simulcast on WDRM 102.1 FM.
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 P.M. to 11 P.M. on the day of the event, July 4, 2018.
Shuttle wristbands are $2 and allow each person who makes a purchase, unlimited rides to and from the event site. Correct change must be used. Wristbands may be purchased during the event or before the event at the NARCOG Transit Office, located at 401 2nd Ave Se, Decatur. Office hours are 8 A.M. to 5 P.M., Monday through Friday. Correct change must be used whether purchasing in advance or during the event.
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 2018 Spirit of America Festival fireworks show is made possible through the support of presenting sponsors Huntsville International Airport, the Morgan County Commission and Decatur Morgan County Tourism.
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.