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Fishers to plan new celebration as Freedom Fest comes to end

FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) -The Fishers Freedom Festival is coming to an end, but one city councilman says the “spirit of the festival will move on.”

City leaders will plan a new Fourth of July celebration, according to Councilman Pete Peterson.

The news of the new plans didn’t stop Freedom Fest fans from voicing disapproval.

“I think Fishers is going to miss it if they’re going to drop this,” Todd Biberdorf said.

“It was one of the things that made Fishers Fishers,” Carol Howard said.

Don Dragoo, president of the Freedom Fest’s board of directors, said it would cost around $125,000 to pay for the fest. He said the city, which used to provide around $85,000 plus police and city workers, is offering nothing.

“I guess just the way it came about leaves a pretty sour taste in my mouth,” Dragoo said.

City leaders said some of the festival money will now go to other nonprofit organizations, including the Hamilton Southeastern School Foundation and a group called Ascent 121 that helps human trafficking survivors.

“We can’t use ‘Fishers Freedom Festival.’ It is a trademark term. But the city will pick that up. We’ll continue to have a parade around the Fourth of July,” Peterson said. “We’ll continue to have fireworks at Fourth of July.”

Dragoo said city leaders approached him about helping with the new celebration.

“I’m just going to have to think about it before I make a decision like that,” Dragoo said.

Dragoo said the organizers decided against continuing the festival without the city’s support because they weren’t interested in drastically scaling back the festival.

The city reduced their funding for the fest last year down to $45,000.