Celebrating Mustang-Style

One of Mustang’s biggest celebrations is set for Saturday.
Saturday’s celebration includes both the Firefighters Freedom Celebration, better known as the annual “Bean Supper,” and First Baptist Church’s Celebrate Liberty.
Nearly 48 years ago, the Mustang Fire Department began hosting the Bean Supper. The name was changed in 2011, but to many, it will always be the Bean Supper.
“Tradition is hard to break for me. We don’t still call it Bean Supper. We haven’t served beans the last six or seven years,” said Roy Widmann, deputy chief for Mustang Fire Department.
Although the fire department no longer serves beans, they serve hot dogs, potato chips, watermelon, punch, iced tea and cookies.
The City of Mustang assists the fire department in purchasing the food for the event.
They usually serve between 1,100 and 1,400 people, with a total of more than 2,500 people coming just to see the fireworks.
The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at Wild Horse Park.
Fireworks begin at dusk around 9:40 p.m. Other activities at the event include fire engine rides, helicopters, inflatables, children’s games, music provided by DJ Katie Opalka and more.
Last year was the first year the firefighters brought in a DJ instead of a live band.
“The best part is so many people in the city who have been here even a few years look forward to the event,” Widmann said. “It’s a community event that brings a lot of people together in one location to enjoy a fun and safe evening. I can tell you, folks that maybe moved away from Mustang, I know of several families who come back for the freedom fest celebration. They like the Bean Supper or whatever we want to call it.”
The event itself is free to anyone, but it costs $5 to eat. Children 5 years old and younger are free. Raffle tickets will also be sold for $1 at the event.
The event is a fundraiser for the Mustang Oklahoma Firefighters Association. The money raised is used for purchasing items that are not part of the department’s annual budget.
Last year, firefighters raised about $7,500 at the event and fed nearly 1,200 people.
The fire department purchased a utility vehicle (UTV) in October with money from last year’s event and money they had saved from the last few previous years’ celebrations. The UTV allows the firefighters to get into small places to do a rescue where they wouldn’t be able to get their normal vehicles, Widmann said.
The purchase pretty much depleted the MOFA’s savings account. This year they don’t have any plans for money brought in from the event except for replenishing their savings account, Widmann said.
One problem with last year’s event was someone flying a drone at the same time the medical helicopter was landing which is a “major, major issue,” Widmann said after last year’s celebration.
This year, Widmann and the department have made it clear that they don’t want any drone in Wild Horse Park on Saturday night. It’s a “major safety issue and major violation for helicopters.”
The Freedom Celebration used to be hosted on July 4 or the weekend before it, but the firefighters are still on call during the event if anything happens in town, so it was moved to the last Saturday in June.
“The weekend of we don’t do it because we are typically busy with grass fires. I don’t remember how many years ago it was when the City Council asked us to move it to the last Saturday in June so that we’re not tied up with grass fires and things like that. If you’ve been around the fourth of July in Mustang, you know how busy it gets, especially on the fourth.”
Although the firefighters are still on call, there are less fires the weekend of the event than closer to the fourth.
The department had an abundance of residents and church groups who wanted to volunteer their services to the event this year, which Widmann said they really appreciate so that the event can still go as planned if a fire happens.
“We are very, very grateful,” Widmann said. “We’ve had more than three dozen people step up to ask us where they can help us this year. So we’re going to be utilizing some of our residents, our church members and all who have asked to help and put them in the serving line to help us and put them in the watermelon and drink line to help us. That way if we get a call, everything will still go on like it should.”
The last Saturday in June in sometimes within the dates the City of Mustang allows residents to pop their own fireworks, but this year the last Saturday in June is before that date. The city allows residents to pop their own fireworks from June 27 through July 4. Times are 3-10 p.m. June 27 through June 3 and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 4.
Celebrate Liberty
First Baptist Church, located at 928 N. Mustang Rd. across the street from Wild Horse Park, also hosts their own celebration to go along with the firefighters’.
FBC began hosting Celebrate Liberty in 2015 because hundred of people would already gather on their property to watch the fireworks, so they decided to provide a fun atmosphere for people to do, said Kent Jaggers, associate pastor with students for FBC.
“We just decided to provide some things that would be fun and would be entertaining for them to really make a whole evening out of it rather than just a fireworks show,” Jaggers said. “Really we just want a family friendly environment—somewhere that adults can come to, parents can take their kids to and just have a good time.”
Celebrate Liberty begins at 7 p.m. and ends just before the fireworks show begins at dusk.
FBC uses the whole south end of their parking lot and sets it up similarly every year. Activities include inflatables, snow cones, cotton candy, a rock wall, live music, food trucks and more.
FBC decided to bring back live music this year. They’re bringing in the Christian band “Consumed by Fire,” as well as Christian singer/songwriter Courtney Adelle.
The food trucks include Big Truck Tacos, Hog Wild BBQ Smoke Shack, and the Mustang Nightriders Funnel Cake truck.
This year they will also be doing some prize giveaways at the event for the first time.
Celebrate Liberty is free to attend. The only thing that costs money are the food trucks.
“We just want everyone to come out and have a good time,” Jaggers said. “It’s an awesome way to see a whole lot of different families join together in one place. That’s really what we want it to be about—just a family friendly evening for the whole community to spend quality time together. We end up seeing hundreds of family that night on campus and that’s really what’s exciting to us to see people come together.
“It’s open to everyone in the community. It’s not just for our church. We hope that everyone in the community will come out and enjoy the evening, capped with a great a fireworks show.”

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