Freedom Over Texas

2016 Press Release


Houston – The eyes of Texas will be on Houston as fireworks ignite the sky, and country tunes set the stage for Houston’s signature patriotic celebration, US Family Health Plan Freedom Over Texas. This year’s event features former Hootie & the Blowfish lead-singer-turned-solo-country-artist Darius Rucker.  The evening will finish with a spectacular display of fireworks presented by CITGO. US Family Health Plan Freedom Over Texas will take place on Monday, July 4th from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. at Eleanor Tinsley and Sam Houston Parks on Allen Parkway (along Buffalo Bayou) and will be syndicated on KTRK ABC-13 and live streamed at

“Independence Day is a time for celebrating the birth of our nation and recognizing the great sacrifices others have made for our freedom,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “I want to thank our new title sponsor, US Family Health Plan and Anchor sponsors: Southwest®, Walmart, Dr Pepper, CITGO, CHRISTUS Health, and Bud Light. Their continued support funds an extraordinary and patriotic celebration for all our Houston families.”

Rucker’s tribute to his southern roots and lifestyle, in his fourth album “Southern Style, will give audiences a taste of his solo success while enjoying favorites from his past. Rucker’s three previous albums – “Learn To Live;” “Charleston, SC 1966;” and “True Believers” - all topped the Billboard Country Album chart, spinning off six number one singles to add to his three-time Grammy Award-winning, Billboard Hot 100 Top 40, platinum album status.

Joining Rucker on the US Family Health Plan Main Stage will be chart-topping country music group and Texas natives the Eli Young Band, known for such hits as “Crazy Girl” and “Even If It Breaks Your Heart”. Houston favorite The Suffers will also share the stage, showcasing their signature fusion of rock ‘n roll and “Gulf Coast Soul”. Florida native and passionate contemporary country artist Brooke Eden, known for her singles “Daddy’s Money,” and “Sunday Morning”, will kick-off the festivities!

The Bud Light Bayou Beer Garden is located in the Bud Light Amphitheater. Visitors are invited to lounge in the sandy beach area under colorful umbrellas or visit the ever-popular Bud Light Build a Bar.  Enjoy an ice cold beverage while listening to live music and celebrating our nation’s birthday!  Other activities in this area will include free games such as; kick pool, a 5-foot tall Jenga set, giant Connect 4, life-sized horseshoes and other fun activities. 

In the Dr Pepper One of a Kind Zone live music will play continuously on the Dr Pepper One of a Kind Stage with featured artists John Evans, Rusted Root, and Cowboy Mouth. Enjoy meet-and-greet opportunities with professional athletes from Houston’s favorite sports teams. Join in on games such as Giant Scrabble, checkers, ball pong, bowling, and much more. Visitors will enjoy Dr. Pepper and Clamato sampling in the Flavor Zone!

Liberty Park will feature "Symbols of Freedom" as a reminder of the historic roots of July 4th. This patriotic salute will honor all five military branches and first responders that have helped shape our nation’s history. Patrons will be offered a unique opportunity to see and take pictures with the military assets on display including helicopters, tanks and jeeps. Visit the US Family Health Plan tent to play games, win prizes and take a fun photo in the photo booth! There is also the opportunity to send words of encouragement to those currently serving in the US armed forces.  The Liberty Stage will feature live music by American Idol alum and Houston-native Zach Person, J. Paul and the Zydeco Nubreeds, and the Ernest Walker Band featuring the Houston All StarsVincent Powell, Mary Griffin, Chris Walker, Rick Marcel, J. Xavier, and more!  A special music tribute to Prince will be performed with Marcel, current front man of the late performer’s band, playing Prince’s guitar.    

The WALMART All-American Kids Zone and stage, will offer entertainment all day long with fabulous patriotic acts, exciting aerial demonstrations and scenes from the popular “Hamilton: An American Musical” produced by the talented students from Carver High School. Edu-Corp professional entertainment, Friends of the Orange Show, and Nature Eclectic Outdoors (NEO) will bring new and improved interactive educational activities to the Zone. Roaming historical and storybook characters will be available for live photo ops. 

CITGO, sponsors of the incredible fireworks finale, will also be on-site with the CITGO Fueling Good Zone engaging kids in music education through experiencing sound with instruments and objects of various sizes and shapes. DJ’s will be on hand to teach the art of mixing tunes and karaoke will have everyone enjoying the day! Patrons can visit the Southwest® Photo Experience to capture a free photo that features various Southwest® flight destinations.  CHRISTUS Health Backstage Pass will feature exclusive behind the scenes interviews and a choice of scenes to watch throughout the event while live streaming on

Sponsors include: Title Sponsor: US Family Health Plan; Anchor Sponsors: Southwest®, Walmart, Bud Light, Dr Pepper, CITGO, CHRISTUS Health; On-Site Sponsors:AARP, McDonalds, AMZER,, First Choice Emergency Room, TxDot; In-Kind Sponsors: METRO,KTSU 90.9, Houston Astros, Houston Rockets, Houston Texans, Houston Dash, Houston Dynamo; Official Radio Sponsor:COX Media Group: The Eagle 106.9/107.5, The New 93Q, Country Legends 97.1; Official Hotel Sponsor: DoubleTree by Hilton Houston Downtown; Community Partner: Houston Food Bank; Beneficiary: Houston Civic Events, Inc.; Producer: City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Special Events; Television Partner:  ABC-13/KTRK-TV.

WHEN: MONDAY, JULY 4, 2016 from 4-10 p.m.

WHERE: Eleanor Tinsley and Sam Houston Parks

ADMISSION: $8 per person June 1 – July 3 available online
$10 per person day of show, online and at event
FREE children 5 and under
*Applicable service charges apply for online purchases


MORE: US Family Health Plan Freedom Over Texas will further expand the availability of recycling receptacles to make it easier for attendees to recycle. The City of Houston is committed to supporting green initiatives and promoting sustainability.

The Houston Parks & Recreation Department regulations prohibit dogs, amphibians, reptiles and snakes that are considered dangerous.  Therefore, we require the ban of all such animals.  This does not include Seeing Eye dogs or other dogs that provide assistance to physically challenged individuals. No smoking allowed in any City of Houston park interior and exterior spaces/facilities. No drones and no prohibited weapons will be allowed. All prohibited items will be confiscated.