Live entertainment events you can watch for free on over-the-air TV

The way people watch television has changed. Rather than planning their schedules around what they want to watch, most viewers watch what they want, when they want. Even with an over-the-air TV antenna, you can record OTA TV using a digital video recorder to ensure you don’t miss any of your favorite shows, movies or live events.

But, sometimes, you want to catch special live events as they take place. For instance, if NASA, SpaceX or another entity were televising a rocket launch, you might want to view it in real-time. The same can be said for sports, award shows, special news programs, political addresses, debates or severe weather announcements.

You can watch countless events on free TV with the right OTA antenna. Here are some of them that don’t require a subscription.

Tournament Of Roses Parade

Affectionately known as the Rose Parade, this event is a New Year’s tradition. The Parade takes place in Pasadena, California, traveling 5.5 miles down Colorado Boulevard. The four types of entries featured are floats decorated with flowers, equestrian units, bands and Tournament entries following the year’s theme.

How to watch on OTA TV: You can watch the next Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 2, 2023, starting at 8:00 a.m. ET on your local ABC or NBC station.

Scripps National Spelling Bee

Designed to promote literacy, the National Spelling Bee originated when nine newspapers collaborated to host the first event in 1925. The E.W. Scripps Company, The Free TV Project’s parent company, is the longtime steward of the competition, in which more than 200 school spelling bee champs compete.

How to watch on OTA TV: The Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals will be broadcast on the evening of Thursday, June 1, 2023, on ION. The full broadcast schedule will be available on by May 1, 2023.

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

First held in 1877, the Westminster Dog Show is the top dog competition in the United States. It is held annually by the New York City-based Westminster Kennel Club. Dogs are judged in several categories, including agility, showmanship, breed, group and best in show, always making for a fun watch.

How to watch on OTA TV: You can enjoy Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show events on your local Fox station from June 18-22, 2023. Check local listings for time-specific broadcasts.

‘A Capitol Fourth’

On the air since 1980, A Capitol Fourth features a larger-than-life fireworks display over the skyline of the nation’s capital with performances by well-known musical artists. For example, the 2021 edition included Alan Jackson, Jimmy Buffett, Gladys Knight and various U.S. military bands, among many others. Twenty cameras are positioned around Washington to provide coverage for an exciting, colorful show.

How to watch on OTA TV: You can view “A Capitol Fourth” on Tuesday, July 4, 2023, on your local PBS station at 8 p.m. ET.

The iHeartRadio Music Festival

The iHeartRadio Music Festival is a live music experience displaying a diverse group of performers and genres of music. Past events have featured top musicians such as Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney, Keith Urban, Ed Sheeran, BTS, Doja Cat, Fleetwood Mac and many others. It’s one of the most significant music events aired on TV every year, and you can watch for free with an OTA antenna.

How to watch on OTA TV: The date for the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Festival has not yet been announced, but you can usually catch the festival in September on The CW.

Taylor Swift performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Rowland H. Macy opened R.H. Macy & Co. in New York City in 1858. In 1924, a group of employees asked the company to host a parade, and the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was born. The parade is now an annual event with over-the-top balloons, marching bands from across the nation, Broadway performances and so much more.

How to watch on OTA TV: You can watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 24, 2022, on NBC at 9 a.m. ET.

Miss America Pageant

The first Miss America pageant occurred on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in 1921. A century later, the pageant has shifted focus to no longer judge contestants solely on outward appearance. Instead, the focus is now on their voices, skills and goals. In addition, the contestant who wins the crown and title works with the Miss America organization for the following year to positively advance the goals and objectives of the organization and her chosen social impact initiative.

How to watch on OTA TV: Although the date and time for the 2022 Miss America Pageant have not yet been announced, it usually takes place in December and is televised live on NBC.

‘Christmas in Rockefeller Center’

In 1931, a group of construction workers building on the Rockefeller Center site in New York City put up a 20-foot tree and decorated it on Christmas Eve with a handful of simple items. Two years later, the first “official” tree was set up and the tradition has continued ever since. The televised live tree lighting also includes performances from big-name musical artists.

How to watch on OTA TV: You can view “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

‘Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade’

Christmas is a magical day and Disney Parks are some of the most magical places on earth, so it only makes sense that the two come together in the form of an annual holiday parade that’s free for anyone with an OTA antenna to watch. The Christmas Day special takes place at the Magic Kingdom and features appearances by favorite Disney characters, celebrities on floats, marching bands and more.

How to watch on OTA TV: You can enjoy the “Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade” on Dec. 25, 2022 on ABC.

‘New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash’

Count down to the new year with country music’s hottest stars, all free on TV with an antenna. The five-hour celebration airs live from Music City each year on CBS. In addition to the big countdown, live performances are shown from several locations across Nashville.

How to watch on OTA TV: You can ring in the New Year with “Nashville’s Big Bash” on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, on CBS, starting at 8:00 p.m. ET.

You can catch exciting and entertaining live special events as they happen for free. All you need is your TV, a good antenna and a comfy place to sit.

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