July 4: Food, fun and fireworks at the fairgrounds

Independence Day fireworks and much more will take place at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds July 4.

Independence Day fireworks and much more will take place at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds July 4.

Carlton Fletcher

ALBANY — Suzanne Davis has been asked to pull off her share of little miracles over her career as director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. Her latest may have been her most improbable — and one of the most impressive.

Informed at the 11th hour that the planned community Independence Day celebration, complete with a dazzling fireworks display, at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany had fallen victim to sequestration’s belt-tightening, Albany City Manager James Taylor scrounged for some emergency funding and turned to Davis to help him quickly come up with an alternative.

Realistically, Davis knew chances were slim, and she knew holding the event downtown was off the table. But she had an ace up her sleeve: a group of civic-minded citizens always willing to help out in a pinch.

Now, only a few weeks after local citizens were dejectedly looking at the first fireworks-free Fourth of July in quite some time, Davis, Taylor and others in the community have put together an all-day extravaganza that should rival any star-spangled event in Southwest Georgia.

“Frankly, I’m amazed at how easily this all came together,” Davis said of the event planned for the Exchange Club Fairgrounds at the corner of Westover Boulevard and Oakridge Drive. “I found out as soon as I started asking, though, that the people in the community did want to be involved.

“And you couldn’t ask for greater cooperation than we’ve gotten from the Exchange Club.”

Gates at the fairgrounds at 810 S. Westover Road will open at 3 p.m. July 4, and the fun won’t stop until well past midnight. Before revelers call it a day, they will have had an opportunity to watch their kids take part in all sorts of free activities, enjoy specialized food and drinks from area vendors while checking out an art exhibit by the D’town Arts Coalition, catch the action of five wrestling matches featuring heroes from the local Show Time Wrestling, and enjoy music from some of the area’s hottest artists.

Oh, and there will be fireworks, which will kick off at 9:15 p.m.

But that won’t be the end of the celebration.

“We’re going to show the movie ‘Here Comes the Boom’ on a big screen after the fireworks,” Davis said. “I don’t think there will be traffic issues of everyone trying to get out at the same time after the fireworks.”

Admission is only $2 a person or $5 per carload of up to six individuals (additional revelers will be charged $2 each). Buses are not included at the $5 price. Military personnel get in free with their ID.

Live music will be provided by area favorites AmpUptheMusic, Another Alien Astronaut, Evan Barber & the Dead Gamblers, The Meyer’s Mill Band, Highback Rockers, Unbreakable Bloodline, Jon Smith, Meow Ka-Pow, Money, G&S, Patrick Foster and the Ryan West Band.

The Clear Channel family of radio stations and its on-air personalities will sponsor the event’s main stage.