For those hoping to celebrate the Fourth of July with barbecue, fireworks or both, several Columbia County organizations are offering family-oriented holiday events.
Patriots Park will be the site of the 13th annual county-sponsored celebration Wednesday. Activities start at 4 p.m. at the Columbia Road park and include a balloon toss, sack races and watermelon seed-spitting contest.
"We've had up to an estimated 10,000 people come," said Brooke Willis, a county community events specialist.
The free celebration, which also features music, will end with a nearly 20-minute fireworks display, Willis said, adding that those planning to attend for the fireworks should arrive early. Chairs and coolers are welcome, but no alcohol is allowed.
The city of Grovetown plans to celebrate the Fourth of July the same way it has the past 19 years, with the annual Grovetown Community Barbecue. This year, the popular celebration, featuring entertainment and door prizes, is being held in the new Liberty Park Community Center on Newmantown Road, said Eddie Jones, the city's Parks and Recreation director.
Though tents and tables will be set up outside, guests will also have an escape from the heat inside the community center.
"It is going to be different," Jones said of the new cool indoor area for the barbecue.
The event is from noon to 3 p.m. Barbecue plates are free, but takeout costs $5.
Christ Church, Presbyterian plans to celebrate its first Fourth of July in its new facility with a July Fourth Spectacular. The event, which begins at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the church at Furys Ferry Road and Southern Pines Drive, features a barbecue dinner, ice cream social, patriotic music by Crescent Brass and the Christ Church Choir and guest speaker, retired Navy Capt. Stan Beach.
"Stan is the most highly decorated chaplain in military history," said Mark Knabholz, the church's Minister of Music.
Admission is free and barbecue costs $3 per person or a maximum of $12 per family. Active-duty military personnel and veterans eat free, Knabholz said.
"We're wanting to really go out of our way to honor the men who have served and are serving," Knabholz said.
For those who would rather head to the lake, Little River Marina and Family Resort will host Liberty on the Lake Freedom Fireworks Spectacular. The event will be from 3 to 10 p.m. on Tuesday at the marina at 4271 Old Lincolnton Road in Appling.
Family-friendly games including watermelon-seed spitting, horseshoes, sack races and a raw egg toss will run from 3 to 6 p.m. A Christian concert will begin at 6 p.m. and will last until the 10 p.m. fireworks display.
Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children. No coolers will be allowed as concessions will be available. Cabins, camp sites and boat rentals will be available and reservations can be made by calling (706) 541-1358.
If you would rather travel a little farther to stretch out the celebration, The Thunder Over Thurmond Festival will run from Tuesday through Saturday in Lincoln and McCormick counties.
The festival features a fair to begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with the exception of a 4 p.m. start on Friday at American Legion Post 194 at 1121 American Legion Road in Lincolnton. Admission is free, but parking costs $3 plus the cost of rides.
Local and regional bands will perform beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday at the American Legion fairgrounds. A fireworks display will top off the evening, said Greg Ruddell, a festival organizer.
Confederate Railroad and Shenandoah will perform beginning at 7 p.m. Friday. Tickets for that concert and the fair cost $50 for VIP tickets, $20 at the gate and $15 in advance.
A bass fishing tournament is scheduled for Saturday.
The festival will end with a fireworks display over the U.S. Highway 378 bridge between McCormick and Lincoln counties.
"There will be fireworks shot this year that nobody has ever seen, specially done," Ruddell said.
Proceeds from the festival will benefit the American Legion Post 194. For more information about the festival, to purchase concert tickets or to register for the fishing tournament, visit www.thunderoverthurmond.net.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.