July 4th Freedom Fest returns to Everett Navy base

EVERETT — After a year hiatus, Naval Station Everett’s “Freedom Festival” returns June 30 with tours of ships, food and entertainment on the base.

The only thing is the USS Nimitz won’t be home and thus not available for the festival.

The giant nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is out on a training mission and isn’t expected back in time for the festival. The crew of the Nimitz is preparing for overseas deployment this summer, said ship spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Karin Burzynski.

Meanwhile, Freedom Fest visitors can tour a guided-missile destroyer, a frigate or a Coast Guard cutter, said base spokeswoman Kristin Ching.

In 2010, about 10,000 people visited the base and many of those toured the USS Abraham Lincoln, which made its homeport in Everett until December. Last year, the festival was canceled because of security concerns. Ship tours also were canceled for several years following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The festival is one of the few opportunities the public has to go on base. Scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 30, it is designed to help people celebrate Independence Day. Entertainment and other family activities are planned.

Ship tours are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning at 11 a.m. that day. The tours continue each half-hour throughout the event.

Because of a limited number of tours available, only one ship tour per person is available.

Parking and bus transportation are scheduled to be available at Everett Transit Station on 32nd Street and Smith Avenue or at the Everett Marina on 13th and 18th streets along W. Marine View Drive. With limited parking on base, carpooling and public transportation is encouraged, Ching said.

All visitors and vehicle drivers should expect random airport-type screenings and should be prepared to present a photo ID upon entry. The following items will be prohibited: backpacks, bags larger than purse-size, weapons of any kind including knives, fireworks or ammunition, coolers or alcoholic beverages. The pets allowed are service animals. No liquids are permitted on the ships.

Information is available through the base hotline at 425-304-5665 or online at www.cnic.navy.mil/everett/index.htm.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.

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