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Thunder over Augusta coming to Evans

Posted: May 15, 2012 - 4:10pm  |  Updated: May 16, 2012 - 12:07am

After a year on hold, the Thunder Over Augusta Armed Forces Day tribute is coming to Evans.

Established in 2009 as a way to honor members of the armed forces, the event formerly took place in downtown Augusta. Last year’s Thunder event was cancelled when construction precluded the use of Reynolds Street. This year the event will take place from 2-10 p.m. Saturday at Evans Towne Center Park. Admission is free.

Don MacNeil, one of the event organizers, said the the new Columbia County venue made it possible to bring the event back.

“There was still an ongoing issue downtown,” he said.

“So if this was going to happen, we were going to have to find a new facility. We were lucky that this beautiful facility is available.”

This year’s event, which retains the Thunder traditions of military bands and displays, skydiving and flybys, will feature higher profile entertainment with headliner Jo Dee Messina, MacNeil said.

Other attractions:

Exhibits: Thunder Over Augusta has always served as a showcase for military skills and equipment. This year’s displays will include Black Hawk helicopters, an M2 Bradley and M109 Paladin tank, and the massive Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) vehicle. There will also be military working dog, combat, field medicine and emergency response presentations.

Team FMX East: Owned and operated by freestyle motocross riders Clint Esposito and Travis Willis, Team FMX is a travelling precision motocross show. The troupe and its riders have appeared at high profile events such as the Harley Davidson 100th Anniversary celebration, the ESPN X-Games and the Red Bull X-Fighters extreme sports series.

Skydiving demonstration featuring Dana Bowman: After losing both his legs in an accident training with the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights parachute team, Dana Bowman became the first double amputee to re-enlist in the Army, becoming the team’s lead speaker and recruiting commander. Today, he uses skydiving as a platform to demonstrate that physically challenged people cannot only contribute, but excel.

434th Army Band Signal Corps Band: Stationed locally at Fort Gordon, this talented professional ensemble plays at a variety of concerts and events throughout the year. At Thunder Over Augusta, it will play during opening ceremonies and will be joined by the Navy All-Volunteer Chorus.

Jenna Jentry: Country singer Jenna Jentry was born and raised in Dallas, eventually receiving a degree in advertising from Southern Methodist University. While in school, she began collaborating with producers and songwriters in the Dallas area. Her debut EP, Fashionably Late, was named a finalist in CMT’s NSAI Song Contest. She followed with the album Good as Gold and is touring and working with producer Mark Moffatt (Keith Urban, Gloriana, Jason Aldean).

Joanna Smith: A Georgia native, Joanna Smith grew up in the small town of Arlington listening to the classic country sounds of artists such as the Judds, Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton. From an early age, she honed her performance skills, taking any opportunity available to hit the stage, eschewing a career with the all-girl group Mustang Sally and a scholarship to Auburn University to try out Nashville. After a little more than a year, she had landed her first publishing contract. Since then she’s had one of her songs recorded by Billy Ray Cyrus and opened for Glen Campbell at the Ryman Auditorium.

Jo Dee Messina: Part of the popular pop-country crossover movement that came out of Nashville in the late 1990s, Jo Dee Messina scored a couple of hits (Heads Carolina, Tails California and You’re Not In Kansas Anymore) off her debut album and never looked back. Over the past 15 years, Messina has had four albums on the Billboard Country charts (two at No. 1) and 12 singles on the Country Singles charts (six at No. 1).

Pyrotecnico fireworks: Thunder Over Augusta climaxes with a 30-minute fireworks display set to music. Pyrotecnico, the company designing the show, is known not only for setting patriotic events alight, but also product introductions, corporate meetings and the occasional Super Bowl halftime show.

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Comments (8)

ReleehwEoj

protect the grass

Hopefully safeguards have been put in place to protect the already stressed grass at the park from the military vehicles and the motocross bikes...

NrthAugustaSam

This is running into money

Wonder just how much money that park is costing Columbia County in maintenance? Admission is free... Hmmm. The county commission must not be good at math.

Frank I

Correction

The M109 is a self-propelled howitzer, not a tank.

NrthAugustaSam

M109

Frank, you are correct. But you have to realize that Columbia County's republican newspaper only cares that something is happening in the park. Not really about what it is, or what it costs the citizens. It's about how good it makes the politicians feel.

belle

There is also an amazing

There is also an amazing Gospel Concert at the Jabez Hardin Theatre on the 19th at 7:00. WISDOM will be performing. All proceeds to benefit a local charity.

stillamazed

WOW

Wasn't the venue built there to hold events? If it isn't going to be used for anything then what was the sense? I think it is great that the event is going to be there and I will certainly be there showing my support, while walking on the stressed grass.......geez, you would think people would be happy for all the people who will be coming and spending their money in CC that day, or maybe you are really afraid the wrong people will come.

thunderover

We're excited to be at such a wonderful venue!

We certainly hope that Thunder will be great for the area. We are also hoping for a wonderful turn out. The top goal is always to honor our troops and veterans. The event is primarily funded by private sponsors, this has enabled us to make it easy for the public to come out and support our troops without an admission fee. We were hoping the tracked vehicles would simply "aerate" the grass =) --- Just kidding we've taken some steps to protect the grounds. The larger the crowd, the more special it is for those who have served - so stop by if you can.

Frank I

New Venue

I like your sense of humor there thunderover. "aerate" lol.. As a vet, I look forward to bringing my kids out. I think it's important to teach them to appreciate the price of our freedoms. I'm also looking forward to showing them the Paladin so they can see some of what I did years back.. As a resident of RC though, I do look forward to the day that the festival can return downtown..

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