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An aerial view of the 2017 Freedom Fest at New Life Assembly of God church in Janesville shows crowds of attendees gathered for the annual Fourth of July event

JANESVILLE—Janesvillians have myriad opportunities to listen to live music, eat delicious food and gaze at fireworks this Fourth of July.

Freedom Fest, a local Independence Day staple, will showcase show-stopping headliners and a slate of food trucks Saturday, June 29. The festival will take place on the grounds of New Life Assembly of God, 2416 N. Wright Road, and also will feature 13 large carnival rides.

It’s also completely free.

“When the gates open at 10 o’clock, people can run right over to the rides and ride them straight for 12 hours should their stomachs permit them to,” said pastor Jason Karampatsos.

Another festival, Independence Day on the Rock, will take place at Janesville’s Traxler Park on Thursday, July 4. It is sponsored by the Rock Aqua Jays water-ski show team.

At Independence on the Rock, patrons can chose from a selection of food trucks to satisfy their appetites. There also will be a beer tent, where the band Pinky and the Brain will take the stage at 3 p.m. Inflatables for kids also will be available starting at 3 p.m.

The night will end with a performance by the Rock Aqua Jays on the Rock River at 7 p.m. A fireworks show sponsored by Festival Foods will follow at dusk. The concert, ski show and fireworks are free for spectators.

Joshua Fox, Independence Day on the Rock chairman, said he suspected about 10,000 people watched the ski show last year.

At Freedom Fest, new food options for 2019 will include wood-fired pizza, hand-scooped ice cream and iced coffee, Karampatsos said. Folks also can bring their own food, he said.

The event is scheduled to last from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

In addition to the fun and festivities, hundreds of bags of free food will be given away at the church from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in what Karampatsos dubbed the “compassion component.” Free health screenings also will be provided by Mercyhealth Hospital & Trauma Center, Janesville, and veterans services will be offered.

Fresh produce will be among the free food options at this year’s event, Karampatsos said.

The night will end with the singing of the national anthem and a fireworks show at dusk, he said.

Karampatsos said Freedom Fest largely is put on by the community, and that it is the largest single-day event in Rock County. Between 20,000 and 30,000 people are expected to attend, he said.

“There’s quite a large footprint. It’s something that many in our community kind of look forward to, and to be a part of in their own unique way,” Karampatsos said.

He said volunteers also are welcome to help serve at the festival.

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