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(FILE PHOTO) Members of the Fort Sill Half Section are shadowed by patrotic air trykes during the 2014 Celebration of Freedom. This year’s festival will be Friday and Saturday, with most of the events taking place Saturday.

Celebration of Freedom set for weekend

HOBART - Freedom will be celebrated this weekend in Hobart. The Kiowa County town will partner with the General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum, and many other local groups, to host the eighth annual Celebration of Freedom Friday and Saturday. Normally a Memorial Day tradition, this year's festival was pushed back about a month in hopes of enjoying a bit of better weather compared to the last couple of years.

"The last couple festivals, it just rained the whole weekend and put a damper on things," said Scott Cumm, director of the Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum. "There was a lot of discussion, and a decision was made to try holding it in the middle of June this year and see how that works."

In years past, the museum took the lead in organizing the festival and bringing in talent. Cumm said this year's event is much more of a townwide partnership with several groups, including Main Street Hobart, the Lions Club and the Kiowa County Coalition. The two-day festival is slightly downsized from last year's event, but Cumm said there is still a lot going on.

"All of these different groups have chipped in and are holding their own little events that coincide with what we're doing here at the General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum," he said. "We're going to have the Thunder Run that everyone knows, General Franks will be here signing copies of his books, and we'll have other activities going."

The festival will begin Friday with carnival rides opening in downtown and a silent auction. Items in the auction include a buffalo hunt on Franks' Four Star Ranch. A live auction for various items will begin at 7 p.m. in the Stanley Building following a veteran tribute there.

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