By Carol Mowdy Bond
Oklahoma’s own Hi-Fi Hillbillies launched into Wilson Pickett’s 1965 breakout hit “In the Midnight Hour,” at Chisholm Trail Park, 500 W. Vandament Avenue, on July 3, the first night of Yukon’s Freedom Fest.
Festival-goers trickled into the first evening of the two-day American independence celebration, despite scorching summer heat. People set up lawn chairs and spread their blankets under shade trees. Plenty of food trucks lined the area.
For the 15th year in a row, YNB provided a free dinner to Yukon veterans as a tribute for their service on the first night of the festivities. The meal, which began at 7 p.m., has been a smorgasbord in the past. But due to COVID-19, this year vets enjoyed Interurban Restaurant boxed meals.
Andrea Griffin said Yukon vets received postcards, so they could RSVP for the meal, and tell how many guests they were bringing. Griffin said annually an average of 200 or more vets with guests attend. This year 198 responded with plans to enjoy the feast.
Karla and Jerry Winfrey arrived early for their meals under the massive, shaded tent. Jerry served in the U.S. Army. David Lamb, who served in the U.S. Air Force, and Carl Edwards, who served in the U.S. Navy, both enjoyed their meals at covered tables in front of a giant fan.
The Yukon Veterans Museum, 1012 W. Main Street, set up a veteran’s booth with exhibits, and also had their new mobile unit on site. Veterans Jerry Stafford, Jenny Crane, Rick Cacini, Jerry Icenhower, and Eddie “Mac” McFadden manned the booth.
Irv Wagner’s Concert Band began paying tribute to Yukon veterans at 8:30 p.m., followed by a star spangled fireworks show at 10 p.m.
On July 4, the festival’s second night kicked off with entertainment by Super Freak. And a packed-out park enjoyed food trucks. The Oklahoma Community Orchestra, conducted by John Fletcher, began their Americana entertainment with “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” The beautiful voice of Soloist Erica Thomas wafted through the night air. And comedic entertainer Lucas Ross sang and played his banjo.
The orchestra finished the musical entertainment with “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” as a fabulous fireworks display lit up the sky.
Yukon’s Freedom Fest is hosted by the City of Yukon. Sponsors include the Yukon Progress; YNB; The Kirkpatrick Family Fund; iHeart Radio/KJ103; Schwarz Paving Company; Wesco Insurance Services; OG&E; Oklahoma Arts Council; National Endowment for the Arts; BOK Financial Securities; Integris Canadian Valley Hospital; Spanish Cove Retirement Village; Ingram, Smith and Turner Mortuary; BancFirst; Yanda & Son Funeral Home and Cremation Services; and Mr. and Mrs. Gary Miller.