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Coarsegold celebrates the holiday with a free event

An old fashioned Fourth of July celebration drew hundreds to Coarsegold on Thursday.
An old fashioned Fourth of July celebration drew hundreds to Coarsegold on Thursday.  It was the Fourth Annual Family Freedom Fest with plenty of activities for the kids and booths to browse for adults.  But the main event was all about celebrating our nation's birthday.

With the Madera County foothills as a backdrop, patriotism rings out from the stage at the Fourth Annual Freedom Fest.  In spite of the triple digit temperature, hundreds gather to celebrate the United States.

“I'm proud.  I love my country.  I love it dearly,” said veteran Steven Burtle.

Veterans have a strong presence in Coarsegold.  The Griswold Mountain Detachment set up a booth, showing off its recent certificate for Detachment of the Year.

“When you're a Marine you're always a Marine and you should celebrate.  This is to keep the Marine tradition going,” said Jim Winney of the Griswold Mountain Detachment #1121.

While volunteering more than 23,000 collective hours last year, the group raised $19,000 for Chance Gaal.  Gaal is an Oakhurst Marine who lost both his legs in combat.

“He was able to purchase a car with all the hand controls and they taught him how to drive,” said Winney.

While local kids celebrate with traditions that have become synonymous with the holiday, many at this gathering say they're also taking time to appreciate what it all means.

“I'm just happy to have my freedom,” said 15-year-old Gracielita Bastidas.

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Fresno, CA

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