WASILLA— The city of Houston’s largest and most coveted community event of the year, Houston Founders Day, is coming back Saturday with a full day of free food and family-friendly festivities.

Houston Mayor Virgie Thompson said it’s exciting to invite the public back to resume this large-scale and community-oriented tradition after having to cancel last year’s event due to COVID-19. She said this year marks the city’s 50th anniversary, making it an even more special occasion.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Thompson said. “We’re gonna move forward and encourage social distancing.”

Thompson’s tradition for Founders Day is putting on a white and red cap and sweater to hide amongst the crowd in the spirit of the classic book series, “Where’s Waldo?” She said that she has a lot of fun dressing up as Waldo and seeing all the different families enjoy the day.

“My favorite thing is educating kids who Waldo is because a lot of kids these days do not know ‘Where’s Waldo?’” Thompson said.

Houston Founders Day is a free event ran solely off volunteer effort with individuals, groups, and businesses, and like the Houston Fire Department and Gorilla Fireworks investing time and resources to make it happen.

“It’s a lot of work but I enjoy it,” Thompson said. “It’s a fun place for the kids and it’s a good family event… I think it’s really important because it brings us together. It’s just something we can all share with memories. I mean, social media just blows up after the event with people that had so much fun. They share pictures of their kids and the family together. That’s just what it’s all about.”

The Houston Founders Day parade starts at 6:30 p.m. Several community games and activities are scheduled throughout the day, including the popular egg toss event, a blueberry pie-eating contest, a petting zoo, and the annual Mat-Su BBQ Battle. The firework show is scheduled for 10:30 p.m.

“The fireworks are phenomenal. They’re just amazing. We put on a firework show that’s a real stopper, I tell ya,” Thompson said.

For more information and an event schedule, visit houstonak.com.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

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