KILLEEN, Texas — Killeen residents celebrated the kickoff to the holiday weekend with its 'Independence Day Extravaganza'.
Even in the heat, the Montgomery family, like many in Killeen, were out celebrating in downtown on Saturday.
"It's nice to have something going on in the community. Keep the kids together, keep the family together," Killeen resident Dee Montgomery said.
People of all ages spent Saturday in the downtown area with food, vendors, live music and activities for children. The night ended with a fireworks show.
Emilio Fenderson, member of Killeen's senior advisory board, has lived in Killeen for more than two decades and said community events like Saturday's downtown festival make him optimistic for the future.
"You can hear the laughter and the kids and everything. It's gonna be good for the businesses. It showcases the growth," Fenderson said.
This week, Killeen unveiled a new draft of its comprehensive plan to improve life in the city. City leaders and residents alike agree that events in the downtown district will help improve community culture.
"It's part of our revitalization of downtown Killeen. What we need is foot traffic," said Killeen mayor Debbie Nash-King. "So what better way than to constantly hold events in downtown area? People get accustomed to coming downtown, maybe businesses will wanna come down."
Nash-King said she hopes this Fourth of July in the city will keep families coming back and attract more business.