HOUSTON – Fourth of July festivities kicked off with patriotic start. Several parades, firework viewings and family events were planned throughout Greater Houston to celebrate our nation's independence.
In Kingwood, Mayor Sylvester Turner was one of the first to greet people, leading the parade on a mustang.
"The spirit is very high. The spirit of patriotism, and people recognize that many people paid the ultimate price in order for people to celebrate on a day like today," said Turner.
Following not far behind was Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.
"It was a complicated thing, putting this country together," said Judge Emmett. "The fact that such divergent interests were able to come together, have the Declaration of Independence and then stick to it just means everything."
Starting at the Creekwood Middle School, dozens of floats marched down, passing out candy, flags and more. Many families telling their families never to forget the meaning of this special day.
"I get to raise my kids in a place where they can speak freely and make free choices," said Kingwood father Patrick Thurman.
In League City, it was Citizen Appreciation Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at League Park. Mayor Patrick Hallisey passed out about $5,000 free hotdogs to guests.
"Fourth of July is America's birthday. We live in the greatest country in the world. The freedoms we have are not matched anywhere," said Mayor Hallisey.
"Citizens Appreciation Day is an opportunity for the city to say thank you to the residents for helping make League City such a wonderful place to live and work," said Parks and Recreation Superintendent Kenny Walsh.
In Sugarland, the city's Fourth of July celebration is moving from Constellation Field to the brand new Sugar Land Festival Site, located at 18355 Southwest Freeway, on Tuesday, July 4, from 5-10 p.m. Fireworks will be launched at approximately 9:45 p.m.
Festive entertainment and activities will include a children's zone complete with photo opportunities and face painting, onsite voter registration, a variety of information stations and a main stage area featuring local talent.
Unlike past Fourth of July events at Constellation Field, tickets are not needed for this year's event at the festival site. As with any large event, attendees are asked to be patient, arrive early and pay attention to event signage. Parking passes are required for onsite parking and can be obtained at sugarlandtx.gov/july4 while supplies last.
"To maximize on-site parking, we are offering an opportunity to reserve a free parking pass from the Imperial Park Recreation Center. The parking pass is free, but comes along with only one stipulation -- a promise to carpool with a minimum of four people or more per vehicle," says event production manager Briana Bachemin.
Free onsite parking will be limited to the first 2,000 people who sign up for passes using the online website portal on the event webpage and those with a handicapped parking placard. Onsite event parking lots will open at 4 p.m.
In addition to onsite parking, free shuttle service will be available at various off-site parking locations. Shuttles will run continuously from 4:30 p.m. to midnight from Mercer Stadium, located at 16403 Lexington Blvd, the Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, located at 18111 Lexington Blvd., and University of Houston Sugar Land, located at 14000 University Blvd.
Ride-sharing and taxi services will also be accommodated.
The event is free and open to the public. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. For more information about the event or to become an event sponsor, contact the Sugar Land Parks and Recreation Department at (281) 275-2885.