Fireworks and food trucks: Murfreesboro’s Independence Day ‘Celebration Under the Stars’

Large fireworks are set off at the “Celebration Under the Stars” at McKnight Park in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on July 4, 2017. (Connor Burnard / MTSU Sidelines)

Photos by Connor Burnard / Assistant Lifestyles Editor

Story by Krystal Loritts / Contributing Writer

Contributions by Tayhlor Stephenson / Lifestyles Editor

Fireworks, food trucks and inflatables were among the many forms of entertainment at Murfreesboro’s “Celebration Under the Stars,” the annual 4th of July bash held in McKnight Park Tuesday night.

Guests flooded the park as early as 3 p.m. to claim their spots for the night’s firework show headed by Pyro Shows, Inc. In the meantime, visitors had their choice of food trucks to pass the time.

First-time vendor Big Daddy’s Sugar Shack made their food truck debut at “Celebration Under the Stars.” Specializing in shaved ice, the food truck provided guests with deliciously flavored, frozen treats in the mid-summer heat.

“Ah, I love it,” said Big Daddy’s Sugar Shack owner Bob Watson. “It’s a great experience for us to be a part of.”

Though there were newbies among the food truck lineup this year, there were plenty of veteran food trucks present as well, including La Vergne-based Smokin’ Buttz.

Serving visitors of the 4th of July event for three years, this food truck specializes in spicy barbeque and was destined to be. “(I) grew up in the food industry, so I just decided to keep the tradition going,” said Smokin’ Buttz owner John Cathey. Cathey’s determination to keep his family’s tradition strong leaves customers with satisfied tastebuds and smiling faces. Starting up a food truck can be a very rewarding experience, bringing happiness and fulfillment to festival/party-goers can be great. If you feel like starting up a food truck business is something that appeals to you, you can always create your own food truck and be as unique as you want to be.

As time went on, the amount of excited chatter only grew. The fireworks truly couldn’t start soon enough, but there was still plenty of entertainment awaiting guests.

Inflatables and numerous stations consisting of photo shoots, tattoo airbrush, balloon animals and a chance to meet and mingle with Brendan the Reptile Guy were set up on the McKnight Park property, allowing visitors of all ages a memorable experience.

Nashville-based trio Audio Saints provided guests with live music from each genre: blues, rock, country and Americana. They even included some familiar tunes in their set with covers by Michael Jackson, the Beatles and Marvin Gaye in order to keep the crowd engaged and on their toes.

The fireworks began at 9 p.m., and like the festivities prior to the display, they did not disappoint. The continuous shooting of fireworks demanded the attention of each individual present until the firework-loaded finale.

“This is our second year… I bring my little sister, and she loves the games and inflatables,” said Nicole LeBlanc. “We usually have a picnic and everything, so it’s a great time!”

U.S. Government teacher at Daniel McKee Alternative School Mariah Phillips, who had her own individual tent set up, was conversing with visitors, attempting to gain their signatures in support of her run for U.S. Congress. Phillips had been attending McKnight Park’s Independence Day celebration alongside her family for years, so she decided to campaign there as well.

“I’ve always been interested in politics, but I never really thought I could actually run,” Phillips said. “But one day my friend came in to work and told me I should run… and he was right, so I am!”

Entertainment galore drove this local event to success. From the live music to the building of balloon animals, everyone seemed to enjoy their time at the 2017 “Celebration Under the Stars.” If you didn’t catch the event this year, mark your calendar for next year’s celebration; there are few ways to better celebrate America’s freedom than with family, friends, tasty food and plentiful entertainment.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email

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