Touted as a treasured annual event that stirs the emotions and pride of all Americans, the Carolina Celebration of Liberty is set for its 29th annual performances Sunday in Columbia.
Described as a “flag-waving celebration of our freedom and those who have sacrificed to preserve and protect it,” the show at First Baptist Church downtown is designed to celebrate American heritage, history and liberty.
At one point there will be “4,000 people waving flags, with wide smiles on their faces and tears rolling down their cheeks,” said Sylvia Rish, spokeswoman for First Baptist Church.
“There is no way you can’t love this if you are an American.”
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It’s a free concert, but seating is limited so tickets are required for admission. There will be two shows: The 4 p.m. performance is “sold out,” but tickets remain for the 7:30 p.m. show. Call (803) 217-3250 to reserve tickets.
Along with patriotic songs performed by a cast of more than 400, this year’s Carolina Celebration of Liberty will be one of the first tributes commemorating the 100th anniversary of Fort Jackson. Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier, the former Army general in charge at Fort Jackson, along with other former commanding generals will be special guests and honorees.
Fort Jackson soldiers and the 282nd Army Band also will participate in the program.
“We will have so many veterans and families of those serving there,” Rish said. “It’s so heartwarming to see these men and women stand up when their branch of the service is called.”
The Carolina Celebration of Liberty began on the steps of the State House. But back-to-back years of severe weather led to the decision to move indoors to the First Baptist sanctuary.
Being indoors doesn't stop them from ending the performance with an indoor fireworks show – produced by professionals and monitored by the fire marshal.
“It’s something to see,” Rish said.