Cedar Rapids residents couldn’t wait for the 4th of July to start celebrating Independence Day. The city’s Freedom Festival is already underway. Fest director Nancy Wendler says there’s a host of events happening, including concerts from country to rock to symphony, food feasts, numerous fireworks displays and several parades, including a pet parade. The 11-day festival features 72 different events, including a cardboard boat regatta, an architectural walking tour and a ski team watershow. Wendler says the best way to attend any or all of the events is to get yourself one of the colorful Freedom Festival buttons.They cost three-dollars and get you discounted admission or some other benefit at all events — though many of the events are free. For more information, call (319) 365-8313 or surf to “www.freedomfestival.com”.