For those hoping to celebrate Independence Day with a bang, there is no shortage of local family-friendly events and fireworks.
Three days of fireworks will start Thursday when Fort Gordon puts on its annual Independence Day celebration. The event is free and open to the public.
Carnival rides open at 5 p.m. on Barton Field, and the Signal Corps Band will start performing at 6:30 p.m. Military displays, craft and food vendors, and a car and bike show also will be held.
Fireworks, accompanied by the band playing the 1812 Overture, start at 9:45 p.m.
Patriots Park is the site of the 14th annual Columbia County-sponsored Fourth of July Celebration on Friday. Activities start at 4 p.m. at the park, on Columbia Road, and include a balloon toss, three-legged race, sack races, pig toss and Hula Hoop contest.
"Good family fun," said Stacie Adkins, the county's community events manager. "We're anticipating thousands of people."
Performances by Sabo and the Scorchers and by Brandon McGuiness will begin at 6 p.m., and the fireworks display will start at dark.
The event is free, but games have a small fee. Chairs and coolers are welcome, but alcohol is prohibited.
Adkins is urging people to show up early or carpool, because parking at the Columbia County Fairgrounds is limited because of construction at the site.
Grovetown will hold its 21st annual Grovetown July Fourth Barbecue on Friday.
The celebration again will be held inside the air-conditioned Liberty Park Community Center on Newmantown Road from noon until 3 p.m. or when the barbecue runs out, said Vicky Capetillo, city clerk and event coordinator.
Barbecue is free and includes baked beans, bread and pickles. Hot dogs and chips also will be available. Takeout plates cost $5. Entertainment will include karaoke and bluegrass music from C.D. Morris and the Bluegrass Boys.
Last year, city officials passed out nearly 3,000 barbecue plates, including about 200 taken to shut-ins in the city.
"That's a lot of slinging some hash," Capetillo said.
Because the Fourth is so close to the July 15 election, Capetillo said, some candidates will be on hand to speak, and U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, will be serving.
Bible Cathedral in Evans is offering family fun. Hamburgers and hot dogs will be served from 11:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Friday at the church at 1116 Furys Ferry Road.
"We've done (a Fourth celebration) every year since we've been in this location," said Gene Taylor, an event coordinator.
Activities and games will run from 11:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. and will include a jump-rope contest, seed-spitting and bubble gum blowing contests, face-painting and volleyball.
The event is free.
Columbia County's Independence Day celebrations will end Saturday with the 21st annual Liberty on the Lake Freedom Fireworks Spectacular at Little River Marina and Family Resort in Appling.
Admission costs $5 for adults and $3 for children and benefits the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center.
Contests and activities begin at 3 p.m., and a Christian concert featuring Band of Light, Eleventh Hour and the Joseph Christi Band starts at 6:30 p.m.
A fireworks display above Thurmond Lake will begin at 9:30 p.m.
Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome, but no food, coolers or alcohol are allowed.
IF YOU GO
What: Fort Gordon Independence Day fireworks
When: Begins at 5 p.m. Thursday (5 p.m. carnival rides; 6:30 p.m. Signal Corps band; 9:45 p.m. fireworks)
Where: Barton Field at Fort Gordon
What: Columbia County Fourth of July Celebration
When: 4 p.m. to dark Friday (games begin at 4 p.m.; live music at 7 p.m.; fireworks at dark)
Where: Patriots Park on Columbia Road near Appling
Cost: Admission is free; fee for games
What: Grovetown's 21st Annual Fourth of July Barbecue
When: Noon to 3 p.m. Friday
Where: Liberty Park Community Center on Newmantown Road
Cost: Free for dine-in; $5 for takeout
What: Bible Cathedral Fourth of July Celebration
When: 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Bible Cathedral, 1116 Furys Ferry Road, Evans
What: Little River Marina Liberty on the Lake Freedom Fireworks Spectacular
When: 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday (contests at 3 p.m.; Christian concert at 6:30 p.m.; fireworks at 9:30 p.m.)
Where: Little River Marina and Family Resort, 4271 Old Lincolnton Road, Appling
Cost: $5 for adults; $3 for children
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