City of Jenks steps up, ensures annual July 4 festivities will happen

City of Jenks steps up, ensures annual July 4 festivities will happen

As COVID-19 is forcing July 4 celebrations to cancel across the state and Tulsa metro area, the City of Jenks has made the decision to move forward with its annual event.

Los Cabos Mexican Restaurant typically puts on the “Boom Fest” every year, which includes the firework show that concludes the day, but this year, the City of Jenks will step up to the plate and deliver its citizens one of the more popular events of the year.

The Jenks Chamber of Commerce will have its annual “Freedom Fest” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 4 on Main Street and the Oklahoma Aquarium will have its annual “Fish and Fireworks” celebration.

Jenks City Manager Chris Shrout said the city is currently working with the City of Tulsa to iron out the final details for the event.

“We are still coordinating with the city of Tulsa,” Shrout said. “Even though the City of Jenks owns pedestrian bridge and 96th Street bridge, Tulsa will have to still close some lanes on Riverside Parkway. We expect more people to watch it on the Tulsa side since the River Parks event was cancelled. We are still trying to figure out how to manage that. The fireworks will benefit both city of Jenks and city of Tulsa.”

Shrout added the City of Jenks is expecting a large turnout on the Jenks side of the Arkansas River as well.

“We are anticipating quite a few people,” Shrout said. “We usually have around 50,000 people on our side. Since it is outdoors, people can still practice social distancing. Even though there will be a lot of people around, individual groups don’t have to be that big.”

Watermelon is always a favorite at the annual Freedom Fest. Photo/File

Shrout said Jenks residents need something positive to celebrate after a tough spring.

“People really need something to get excited about and really need something to celebrate and what better way to celebrate July 4 than with fireworks,” Shrout said. “It is a great opportunity to show our appreciation to local businesses and citizens for their support and their willingness to work with us during this pandemic. It would have been very tough on our local businesses and our citizens if we would have cancelled this event this year.”

The partnership between the City of Jenks, Oklahoma Aquarium and private donors will fund the July 4 festivities. Shrout said he anticipates the final cost of the event falling somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000.

Members of the Jenks Police Department passed out treats to the children in 2019 at the Freedom Fest. Photo/File

If you are interested in helping fund or sponsor the July 4 activities, you can contact Andrea Leitch with the Oklahoma Aquarium at aleitch@okaquarium.org or Josh Driskell with the Jenks Chamber of Commerce at josh.driskell@jenkschamber.com.

Shrout said he believes the city is doing the right thing by having the annual July 4 celebration.

“If it’s safe according to the governor’s guidelines, and we can make it happen, we are going to make it happen.”

The Jenks Fire Department created a splash pad at the 2019 Freedom Fest. Photo/File

Kyle Salomon

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