NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville's "Let Freedom Sing!" Fourth of July celebration broke a record this year with an estimated attendance of 350,000 - topping the 2019 record of 343,000.
The event celebrated its 37th anniversary with visitors coming from across the country. The massive party was two years in the making after the pandemic forced last year's event to be online.
"I think that today is a very special day due to Nashville and how hard it was hit," said Annice Richardson, a food truck operator for Jefferson's at the event.
Organizers say the fate of this year's "Let Freedom Sing!" was unknown until March because of COVID-19.
"It feels very normal - it's good to be outside surrounded by a lot of people," said Holly Campion, who was visiting with her family from Florida.
Although fireworks were the main attraction, the day offered something for everyone.
"So excited for that. I just heard that it's supposed to be the best fireworks display in all of the United States," said Ellen Dean, who was visiting with her son from Utah.
"Everyone's excited to be out and also they love food. Who doesn't love food? Everybody gotta eat, right?" added Richardson.
Jumbotrons throughout downtown offered viewers an up-close look at performers. Seven acts took the stage both on Broadway and Ascend Amphitheater, culminating in the night's headliner, Brad Paisley.
Businesses and food trucks lined the streets embracing the massive crowds, as Nashville celebrated freedom and Music City's rebound.
"The next era in our city is going to be the greatest ever and this is a little bit of a kick-off to that. We're back, we're a city that works, we can work for everybody and this is a little bit of our coming-out party," said Mayor John Cooper.