Backstage at the Canton Liberty Fest

Summer will be here soon and with it a favorite local tradition—the Canton Liberty Fest. Liberty Fest has been held in Heritage Park since 1993. This year it is scheduled for Thursday, June 13 through Saturday, June 15, 2024.

Have you ever wondered why it is called Liberty Fest? According to Festival Coordinator Laura Mortier, no one is sure of the origin, but it is believed that the planners at the time wanted to kick off Independence Day festivities and host the first fireworks show of the season in this area.

Festival Preparations

Planning and preparing for the fest starts well ahead of time. Every August, the Parks Department looks over all of their programming from the previous year so they can make plans for the upcoming year. The Liberty Fest is still fresh in their minds at that point, so they discuss any changes or tweaks they would like to make. The committee planning Liberty Fest begins meeting in January.

There are around 15 people from Canton Leisure Services who are key players in planning. Canton Public Safety is also very involved, as safety is a major concern for everyone. Many other departments get involved as well. Maintenance staff ensure that electricity is available for all of the vendors. The Fire Department provides first aid, inspects and approves food trucks, and ensures the safety of the fireworks launch. Lastly, hundreds of seasonal workers help run the festival over the three days of operation.

Changes Over the Years

The hugely popular Carnival Zone started off small, but now encompasses the entire north side of the park. The planners love the vendor they work with, Skerbeck, and say they provide a very family-friendly environment with a focus on safety.

While food and music have long been a part of the festival, alcohol was not originally served. Due to community interest, the festival now offers beer and wine in a Beer Garden that is in a controlled environment in the amphitheater loop.

A recent addition to the festival is the Juneteenth celebration, added in 2022 in partnership with the Jack and Jill of America chapter from Ypsilanti. This year there will be a variety of guest speakers and awards, featured Black-owned businesses, music, dancing and more on Saturday, June 15, 2024. The International Festival will also take place on this day with performances by cultural groups from all over the state, representing the rich cultural tapestry of Canton.

The festival planning committee is excited to offer a brand-new activity debuting this year. The Whoa Silent Disco will take place from 7:30-10:00 PM on Saturday night. There will be 250 headsets available for this fun, all ages event.

Fireworks and Food

What would a festival be without lots of fun and fried festival food? In addition to the carnival classics of corn dogs, pizza slices, French fries and ice cream, there will be filled pretzels, shaved ice, mini donuts, and food trucks galore with a wide variety of options.

Why not enjoy some of those treats while watching a fabulous fireworks display? Fireworks are scheduled for approximately 10:00 PM on Friday, June 14, 2024. Saturday is the backup date in case of bad weather.

Plenty to Enjoy

There are so many things happening at the festival, it’s hard to fit them all in one blog. Visit the Liberty Fest website to learn about the Family Fun Zone, the 5K Run, marketplace vendors, the pancake breakfast and more. While you are there, check out the great sponsors that help make the festival possible.

Another great way to stay informed and navigate the festival is to download the Canton Liberty Fest app for Android and iPhone users. The app offers push notifications about the event, including weather issues or road closures coming into Heritage Park. It can also help you find your next delicious treat or great musical performance to enjoy!