Albany celebrated the Fourth of July with a fireworks extravaganza. Thousands of people attended the event which took place downtown.
ALBANY Grills are lit; watermelon is on the grocery store shelves and thermometers are stuck in that tiny area between hot and scorching.
We must be close to Independence Day.
Final preparations are being made by the big three of July 4 celebrations: the City of Albany, the Marine Corps Logistics Base and Sherwood Baptist Church -- to host thousands of people from around Southwest Georgia, many of whom are looking forward to a little "shock and awe" in the skies above the wiregrass.
Kicking things off in the area will be the crew out at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, who will launch their celebration on Friday, June 29.
Lt. Kyle Thomas, public affairs officer at MCLB-Albany, says that main gates of the base will open at 4 p.m. to the public.
"Everyone is encouraged to arrive a little early. We will have a demonstration by the military working dog unit on base as well as a performance by Marine Corps Band New Orleans. They will also have a roaming brass ensemble much like the Albany Marine Band," Thomas said.
Thomas said that lawn chairs and blankets are welcome, but leave the pocket knives and weapons at home. Alcohol will be sold at the base but cannot be brought into the event by the public. Pets should also stay at home, unless they are working dogs, Thomas said.
The MCLB Fireworks show will start promptly at 9:30 p.m., Thomas said, and will conclude the festivities on base.
"We'll also have a fireworks display, which will begin at 9:30 p.m. at the close of the celebration. Plenty of food vendors, providing everything from hot dogs to funnel cakes, will also be set up at the field," Thomas said. "Everyone will also get a chance to see a static display of several of the military vehicles we work with on base. A rock climbing tower will also be available for older children."
Sherwood Baptist Church will also be opening up Legacy Park in Dougherty County for their annual celebration on July 1, according to the Freedom Festival website.
According to the site, Freedom Fest is "an American celebration of patriotism, freedom, and our national heritage. Our desire is to celebrate the founding of our great country in a fun environment that is safe for the whole family. The event is FREE for the public and includes free admission, free parking, free activities, and an impressive fireworks show at the end of the celebration."
Unique to the freedom fest is fact that they welcome U.S. military recruiters onto the park to pitch their various branches to attendees who may be interested in enlisting.
This year's festival will start at 5 p.m. and will feature kid games and inflatables, cake walks, horse riding, a rock climbing wall and musical guests.
The "American Celebration" will start at 8:30 p.m.
Kristen Caso, the special events coordinator for the City of Albany's Recreation and Parks Department, said Friday that the city's tribute to the nation's birthday will feature family-friendly food, fare and frolicking.
The event is scheduled on Independence Day, Wednesday, July 4.
"City staff always gets a little excited about the Fourth of July fireworks show," Caso said. "We like to think of it as us and a few thousand of our friends celebrating downtown all for free."
Caso said the city has linked up with Dangerous Entertainment to provide the fireworks show which, as always, will be set to a musical medley of classic and contemporary songs and patriotic favorites -- including Albany native Ray Charles' version of America the Beautiful.
The city's fireworks show will start at 9:30 p.m. and will be launched from behind the Civic Center.
As with the MCLB festivities, Caso warns participants against bringing any alcohol, although lawn chairs and blankets are welcome.