Guests at Columbia County's eighth annual Red, White and Blue Veterans Celebration will notice alterations this year.
"We've made some changes in our schedule this year to make it more family friendly," said Barry Paschal, a co-chairman of the celebration committee and publisher of The Columbia County News-Times . "We've shortened the program, and after cutting back on ceremonies and speeches, we still have time for a full concert by the U.S. Army Signal Corps Band."
The celebration begins at 7 p.m. Saturday on the lawn of the county's Justice Center in the Norwood Freedom Plaza, with opening remarks by Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross.
U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., and Fort Gordon's commanding general, Jeff Foley, are featured speakers.
Other traditions include the posting of colors by the Fort Gordon Color Guard, the pledge of allegiance, the national anthem and the flag-raising ceremony, which all take place before 8:15 p.m.
In addition to patriotic tunes by Fort Gordon's Signal Corps Band, which will play at 8:15 p.m., The Augusta Children's Chorale also will perform.
"The Augusta Children's Chorale is performing in appreciation to Columbia County commissioners for helping finance their trip to New York City in December," Paschal said. "Many of the singers are from Columbia County, and they wanted to be able to thank the community for its support."
The American Legion Post 192 in Evans will sell food. The post also will be holding a wall of honor fundraiser, honoring those who have served in the military.
Columbia County Community Events Manager Stacie Adkins said the fireworks display and music are usually big hits with the crowd.
"I think people will enjoy the music," she said. "You've got the Signal Corps Band, and we've never had the children's chorale before."
The fireworks are scheduled to begin about 9 p.m.
"Fireworks start at dark and will be accompanied by the Signal Corps Band," Adkins said.
Adkins encourages visitors to bring blankets or chairs. The event is free.
Unless extreme weather hits, the celebration will continue rain or shine, she said.
"Usually, it's good weather," she said. "You've got families sitting there relaxing, enjoying family time and remembering what we're there for."
For information, contact Adkins at (706) 312-7191.
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