Mansfield chills out for Rockin’ 4th

06/30/2014 6:49 PM

07/02/2014 10:30 AM

Mansfield could have the coolest Independence Day celebration around. Despite forecasts of 90-plus degree temperatures, visitors at the city’s annual Rockin’ 4th of July party will be able to chill out on the ice slides, a regular feature at Mansfield’s Hometown Holidays celebration in December.

“We weren’t able to have Hometown Holidays because of the storms last year, so we thought it would be fun to have them for the 4th of July,” said city recreation superintendent Andrew Binz. “ The company that does it assures us that it can be done. It may take a little bit more ice. I’m curious to see how it goes.”

The sledding hills -- there’s two, one for little kids and another for bigger sledders -- are the most popular feature at Hometown Holidays, which weren’t able to be at last year’s event after it had to be rescheduled because of an actual ice storm.

But the ice hills won’t be the only cool things at the free celebration, set for 7-10 p.m. at the Big League Dreams complex. The fireworks show will have some surprises, too, Binz said. The city is using the same company that did Hometown Holidays fireworks, which included a ground show in addition to an aerial one, startling many of the onlookers who weren’t expecting it.

“The ground show is going to be more intense,” Binz said.

The fireworks show, which is set to music, starts at 9:30 p.m. and will run 20-25 minutes and be visible from the entire baseball complex, as well as nearby neighborhoods.

This year, the party will actually get started in the parking lot at Newsom Stadium, where free shuttles will carry visitors to Big League Dreams, said Belinda Willis, the city’s director of communication and marketing. (There will be no public parking at BLD during the Rockin’ 4th.)

“Every year we have this we learn a little more about new amenities and ways to make it better,” Willis said. “We added more buses last year so we can move everybody quickly.”

All Funk Radio Show will start rocking with rhythm and blues hits at 7:45 p.m. The event also includes bounce houses, a game truck, the city's Hydration Station, karaoke and smash car. Veterans and active-duty military personnel also will be honored. The park’s Diamond Club will be open for visitors to purchase hot dogs and hamburgers.

“We always want everybody to have a good time,” Willis said.

The party usually draws 5,000 to 8,000 people, and Willis expects this year to be about the same. Even more people line up along Texas 360 and local streets to watch the fireworks show every year.

“We know people are going to do that because the fireworks are visible for quite a ways around Big League Dreams, but you’d have a lot more fun if you came inside,” Willis said.

Visitors should bring lawn chairs and blankets, sunscreen, insect repellent and cash for food and drink, but leave coolers, ice chests, pets and fireworks at home.

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