I’m sort of old-fashioned in that I typically celebrate holidays on the actual day (like opening presents on Christmas Day, having fireworks on 4th of July, etc.). So when I heard that the Fort Benning Independence Day Celebration was on June 23rd… I was a little confused.
Thankfully, they knew that newcomers and old-fashioned people like myself would be all up in their business and let us know what’s up on their Facebook page. MWR hosts the Independence Day Celebration early so that soldiers can travel or be with their family on the actual holiday. Bottom line: soldiers & families get an extra holiday. #winning
Any hesitation that I had about attending an early 4th of July disappeared as soon as I arrived. From the vendors, games, and entertainment present, everything was well organized and ready for the crowds of people arriving to have fun. In fact, on June 24th I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a party train. It was a GREAT train ride… but an Excedrin was still required followed by coffee and lots of water soOoO be prepared.
Fort Benning threw the celebration to end all celebrations and I was so thankful that I was able to attend. Want to go next year? Here are a few things to make note of before you go:
- They kick it off in the afternoon and it will be hot, hot, hot. Just….so hot. You can bring your personal water bottles and non-alcoholic beverages so please stay hydrated! Hydration will make all of the difference (and NO, beer shouldn’t count towards your hydration) for you and prevent you from leaving the event in an ambulance. No joke. Lifehack: apply sunscreen as if your life depends on it.
- Shade tents are welcome in designated areas, as are lawn chairs. We brought our folding chairs and they came in clutch. Lifehack: bring a wagon to make wheelin’ everything to the event super simple.
- Traffic & lines will be crazy. This is an awesomely free event open to the public, so why wouldn’t people come?! If you live on Benning within a 1-2 mile radius, it honestly might be faster to walk to & from the event. If you’re not within walking distance, consider carpooling with friends. Lifehack: pick up your tokens beforehand because no cash is accepted by the vendors. Between a bottle of water, a sweet tea, and a burger, I needed $20.
- Know that the jump towers are only open for a few hours and the lines will be long. This is a “Fort Benning Bucket List Item” so kids from 1-92 will want to jump. If it’s an absolute MUST for you/your family, plan to do this first & stand in line for a hot minute. This year they reached capacity before the cutoff time and had to stop accepting waivers. Lifehack: be sure to thank the soldiers that are out there strapping everyone in/out, running the cables back, and putting this on! We couldn’t do it without them.
- Stay for the fireworks! Hands down THE BEST fireworks I’ve ever seen.
Lifehack: don’t take pictures/video of the fireworks. Instead, allow yourself to enjoy the moment without worrying about posting on social media.
Hopefully, you can tell that I had an amazing time & my hope is that if you find yourself stationed at or near Fort Benning that you’ll check it out!
Until next time,