Columbia County's annual event honoring military veterans has a few new facets, including a new venue -- the Columbia County Amphitheater.
The 10th annual Red, White and Blue Memorial Day Celebration will take place 7-9:30 p.m. Saturday in the amphitheater behind the Columbia County Library in Evans.
The celebration, including patriotic music and fireworks, was formerly held at Charlie Norwood Freedom Plaza -- the front lawn of the Evans Justice Center.
"This is our 10th year of celebrating the Red, White and Blue Veterans Celebration on Memorial Day weekend, and moving the event to the amphitheater is a way to keep it fresh while making it more accessible for the community," said Barry Paschal, a co-chairman of the celebration committee and publisher of The Columbia County News-Times .
Richard Rogers, of WRDW-TV 12, will serve as the master of ceremonies.
The Augusta Children's Chorale will perform and, for the first time, the band of the U.S. Air Force Reserves will provide patriotic music during the event.
"We changed the setup a couple of years ago so we can hear a full concert from the military bands, and the amphitheater will provide a far better stage for the show from the Air Force Reserve band," Paschal said.
Stacie Adkins, the county's Community Events manager, said she expects guests to be pleased with the new venue.
"It is really just a more relaxed, outdoor concert, patriotic music, to help us remember what Memorial Day is about," Adkins said. "I think the amphitheater is a much better venue."
Other activities include posting of the colors by Fort Gordon personnel and a flag-raising ceremony. Guest speakers will be Rep. Paul Broun and Army Col. Jeffrey Lepak from Fort Gordon.
Adkins said in honor of fallen service members, American flags will wave from the front lawn of the Columbia County Justice Center starting today through next week.
"There will be over 350 American flags representing those Columbia County citizens who have fought in battle and died," Adkins said.
The event will end with a bang as fireworks will light the sky behind the amphitheater. The fireworks show will start at dusk and will be accompanied by patriotic music.
"It might not sound all that significant, but we're also excited about spectators being able to face the same direction for the entire event," Paschal said. "When we held the celebration in front of the courthouse, the audience had to turn away from the stage to be able to see the fireworks. At the amphitheater, they'll be able keep their seats, enjoy the music and watch the fireworks."
Adkins encourages guests to bring lawn chairs and blankets for the grassy area of the amphitheater.
if you go
What: 10th annual Red, White and Blue Memorial Day Celebration
When: 7-9:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Columbia County Amphitheater, behind the Columbia County Library and Justice Center in Evans
Expect: Patriotic music, fireworks
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