The opening of a new Greer City Hall in 2008 and the 12-acre Greer City Park later that year provided needed green space in the city's downtown known as Greer Station. A summer festival was a natural for the expansive space. And honoring those who have served (and those who currently serve) in the U.S. Armed Forces was a fine reason for a community to gather in 2009.
More than 100,000 guests have filled Greer City Park over the years to celebrate at the festival, which traditionally has been held the Saturday before the Fourth of July and culminates with one of the largest fireworks displays in the Upstate.
A constant over the years has been the Kids Zone area with crafts, activities and games for children. Great food is offered by vendors along the City Park Promenade. Talented musical artists perform into the evening. Patriotic murals are displayed. And the event would not be possible without the support and assistance of such groups as the S.C. National Guard and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 39 in Greer.
Eating contests are a popular event at festivals and Freedom Blast is no exception. The first five years of Freedom Blast included a pie eating contest for both adults and children. When Texas Roadhouse joined the sponsors in 2014, saucy ribs replaced the pies and proved equally as messy.
That year also introduced Sarge, the eagle mascot of Freedom Blast. It was also the first year the festival ever experienced rain. That didn't dampen the spirits, however, as 20 Ride played on and the dancing continued. 20 Ride was such a hit that it remains the only headliner ever to play Freedom Blast twice.
Freedom Blast Headline Bands