Albany preparing for Fourth of July celebrations

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga. -- Officials in the city are promising a celebration of the nation's birthday as exciting as any other.

Representatives from Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, the city of Albany, Flint RiverQuarium, Thronateeska Heritage Center and Albany Recreation & Parks Department all gathered for a news conference Monday to provide details on the festivities occurring this weekend.

From the Marine base was 2nd Lt. Kyle Thomas, public affairs officer with the installation. The base is set to host its 16th annual celebration from 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday. The scheduled highlights for that evening will include a military working dog demonstration, performances by the Albany Marine Band and an appearance by this year's Miss Georgia.

"There will also be plenty of entertainment for the kids," Thomas said.

The main gate on Fleming Road will be open from 4 p.m.-8:30 p.m. The public is asked not to bring alcohol, coolers, pets, weapons or knives.

"Alcohol will be provided by certain vendors," Thomas said.

The fireworks on base are planned to start at 9 p.m. Bags will be subject to inspection.

In the downtown area, an Albany Star singing competition is planned for 4 p.m. Saturday at the Veterans Park Amphitheater. Interested parties are encouraged to register with Recreation & Parks.

Also in downtown that same day will be Movie in the Park at Riverfront Park. The event will open at 7:30 p.m., with the PG-13 movie selection "The Blind Side" beginning just after 8:30 p.m. Vendors are expected to be onsite, and the event is free of charge to the public.

"People can stay in Albany for free and enjoy activities we are providing," said Monique Broughton, assistant to the downtown manager.

On Sunday, the RiverQuarium will be open from 1 p.m.-7 p.m. for an admission price of $5. In addition, a joint ticket to the RiverQuarium and Thronateeska will be available for $8.

The RiverQuarium will also be opening its latest exhibit "Alien Attack: Target Everglades" Sunday in the Adventure Center. A 2 p.m. dive show and a screening of "Wild Ocean" in the Imagination Theater is also planned.

Thronateeska, which is usually closed on Sundays, will be open from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Admission to the Wetherbee Planetarium will be $3.50 per person.

"We will close down early to get folks out for the fireworks," Thronateeska Executive Director Tommy Gregors said. "This is a good chance for people to enjoy what we have in Albany."

The downtown festivities for Albany are never complete without the Independence Day Fireworks Celebration, which is set to start at 9:30 p.m. at the Albany Civic Center.

The show will take place at the southeast corner of the Civic Center. Parking will be available at the RiverQuarium, the downtown parking decks and the Civic Center from the Washington Street entrance. Vendors will start serving food and beverages at 5 p.m.

Officials are asking the public not to bring alcohol and personal fireworks into the downtown area.

"With 25,000-30,000 people in attendance, (using one's own fireworks) can be a hazard," said Kristin Caso, spokeswoman for Recreation & Parks.

The fireworks are expected to last 45 minutes. The display should be visible from the Riverfront Park vicinity.

"I tell people the best view is near the Civic Center," Caso said. "We hope everyone comes out and has a great time."