One of the joys of small town Georgia is the town square. Nowhere is the charm of town squares more evident than when it comes time to celebrate the Fourth of July. It summons iconic images of fireworks exploding over historical or community significant buildings, families lazing on blankets while enjoying a picnic, and kids, almost giddy with excitement, anxious for dark, running around in an environment that feels safe and warm.
So, here are a few places where old-fashioned, hometown Independence Day celebrations are happening, and some celebrations stages at larger venues in the metro Atlanta area.
THURSDAY, JULY 2
Madison's Main Street Summer Happenings in the Park will feature Line Dancing 101, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., Thursday, July 2, at 218 W. Jefferson St., Madison. For more information, visit http://www.madisonga.com/Calendar.aspx?EID=1725&month=7&year=2015&day=23&calType=0www.madisonga.org.
Stars and Stripes Circuit, Conyers
July 2 - 5. The Georgia International Horse Park hosts a Stars and Stripes Circuit, a AQHA/GQHA Sanctioned Quarter Horse Show, at the Charles Walker Arena, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The free seasonal event features Western Dressage, Ranch Horse Riding, Reining, Leveling, NSBA Classes, and multiple derbies and exhibitors. For more information, visit the Park's web site [www.georgiahorsepark.com].
FRIDAY, JULY 3
David Prince will appear in concert on Friday, July 3, at the City of Rutledge's Summer Concert series 8 to 10 p.m.. For more information, visit the city's web site at www.ruthledgega.us.
Independence Concert and Fireworks, Madison-Morgan Cultural Center
Celebrate Independence Day on Friday, July 3, with a concert and picnic at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, 424 South Main St., Madison. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. The Athens Classic City Band will perform. Bring picnics, baskets, tables and chairs. Prizes will be awarded for the most patriotic table decorations. Tables are available for rent at $20 each. For more information, call Erin Garrett at (706) 342-4743. Rain location inside the cultural center.
‘Camelot' Prelude, Lawrenceville Lawn, 210 Luckie St., Lawrenceville
For a different kind of Independence Day celebration, try "Camelot," performed by the Aurora Theater in Lawrenceville. The performance is free, and will be followed by a fireworks display outside. Lawn seating begins at 5 p.m. for the 7 p.m. performance. Reserve a table of VIP seating for 6, $125 until July 3rd.For more information, visit Aurora Theater's web site [http://www.auroratheatre.com/on-stage/seasonal-programming/prelude-to-the-4th-camelot/]
Red, White & Boom! Pre-Fourth Celebration, Norcross
Celebrate the Fourth early in Downtown Historic Norcross at Lillian Webb Park, 5 College St. Inflatables for the kids will fill South Peachtree St., minimal fees apply, plus local restaurants and vendors will sell food and libations. Live music begins in the park at 6 p.m. with Maxwell Taylor, Man of 1,000 Voices, followed by Bruce in the USA at 7 p.m. Fireworks will be set off after dark. For more information, visit www.norcrossga.net.
Friday Night Drags & Show-N-Shine Fireworks Night, Atlanta Motor Speedway
The street-style drag racing series, Friday, July 3, averages 225 drag racers and 90 show cars at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, 1500 N. Highway 41, Hampton. A fireworks extravaganza complete the evening. Pits open 6 p.m., grandstands at 6:30 p.m. Competitor entry is $20; grandstand admission is $8, free for children ages five and under. For more information, call (770) 946-4211 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fantastic Fourth Celebration, Stone Mountain Park
Stone Mountain Park's Fantastic Fourth Celebration Lasershow and Fireworks will be held nightly, Thursday, July 2, through Sunday, July 5. Attraction hours are 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., with the laser and fireworks show starting at 9:30 p.m. Rockin' the Rock, a free concert on Thursday, July 2, at 7:15 p.m., features American Authors and Rachel Platten. Vehicle entry to the park is $15 for a one-day permit or $40 for an annual permit. For more information, visit the Stone Mountain web site [http://www.stonemountainpark.com/events/Fantastic-Fourth-Celebration]
Braves Foundation Weekend/Independence Day Celebrations, Turner Field, Atlanta
The Atlanta Braves play the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 5, at Turner Field downtown. It's Braves Foundation Weekend, with the Hank Aaron Room set up for a three-to-four day auction and sale, courtesy Community Affairs, and benefiting the Atlanta Braves Foundation. Thursday night is Star Wars Night, and guests are encouraged to wear their best costume from the blockbuster films. Tickets include an invitation to a pregame parade and a commemorative Star Wars item. On the Fourth, an All-American Fireworks Spectacular is scheduled, featuring fireworks choreographed to patriotic music. Ticket packages and further information are available at the Braves' web site [http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/schedule/index.jsp?c_id=atl#y=2015&m=7&calendar=DEFAULT].
Red, White and Brews Pub Crawl, Atlanta
It's a different kind of fireworks at the "Red, White and Brews Pub Crawl," Friday, July 3, and Saturday, July 4, Hangovers Buckhead, 3188 Roswell Rd., Atlanta. Themed shots, drink specials, bands and DJs will be offered by the seven bars and restaurants on the crawl route. Tickets are $10 before June 27; $15 after. Information and tickets are available online [http://www.atlantabartours.com/events/event/red-white-brews/#sthash.BD9jdYip.dpuf]. Participants much have a valid ID and be 21 or older to attend the event.
SATURDAY, JULY 4
Parade and Picnic, Oxford
The City of Oxford and the Oxford Lion's Club sponsor a parade and entertainment, starting at 10 a.m. at the Old Church on Wesley Street. Monetary prizes reward parade entries in various categories. Lunch can be purchased from concession stands run by the youth groups of Oxford churches. The Lion's Club provides watermelon and popcorn free.
Independence Day in the Park & Music Fest, Downtown Covington
Independence Day in the Park and Music Fest will be held on the square in Downtown Covington, kicking off at 2 p.m. with the Special Olympics Equestrian Team's Golf Cart Parade. The event features a rock wall, water slide, dunking booth, a cow train, antique car show, and other games and activities for children and adults. Music will be provided throughout the day and evening and features DJ Bounce, Joe Cannon and Kids, McKibben Music Studios, Myles Gary, Derwin Daniels Band, Drive Time and Drew Parker. At 6 p.m. The Newton County Community Band will present a special concert. At 9:43 p.m., the National Anthem will be played, followed by fireworks extravaganza. For more information, visit The Independence in the Park Music Fest web site [www.downtowncovington.org].
Annual July 4th Festival, Fanfare, and Fireworks, Porterdale
The City of Porterdale hosts a Fourth of July celebration, beginning at 6 p.m. Downtown businesses will be open as well as the Memorial Gym (location). A DJ will play music in the gym Saturday, July 4, 6 p.m. The fireworks at 9 or 9:30 p.m. Select vendors; our downtown business will be open. Select menus. Gym will be open, DJ playing music in the gym; public restrooms
Pied Piper Parade, Concert and Fireworks, Decatur
Join Decatur's July 4th Pied Piper Parade as it winds through downtown Decatur starting at the First Baptist Church of Decatur at 6 p.m. and ending at the Community Bandstand. A concert, featuring the Callanwolde Concert Band begins at 7 p.m., followed by fireworks at dark. For information call (404) 371-8386 or email Katie.Abel@decaturga.com. For 24-hour information call the Decatur Events Hotline, (404) 371-8262.
Peachtree Road Race, Atlanta
The nation's second largest road race, the Peachtree Road Race takes place on a 10-kilometer route from Peachtree Road at Lenox Square to Piedmont Park. Organized by the Atlanta Track Club, the event attracts runners of all ages. For more information, visit the Atlanta Track Club web site [http://www.atlantatrackclub.org/2015-peachtree].
Centennial Olympic Park
The Centennial Olympic Park's 4th of July celebrations features free music and a large firework display, 265 Park Ave West N.W. Atlanta. Gates open at 6 p.m. with fireworks set to start at 9 p.m. Musical guests include the United States Air Force Band of the West. For more information, visit Centennial Park's web site [http://www.centennialpark.com/index.php/plan-your-visit/event-calendar/springsummer-events/4th-of-july].
56th Annual Lenox Square Fourth of July, Atlanta
Buckhead's Lenox Square hosts an Independence Day celebration that features fireworks and food, with music provided by Gump Fiction at 6 p.m. followed by Party on the Moon at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks start approximately 9:40 p.m. For more information, visit the event's web site [http://www.simon.com/mall/lenox-square/stream/legendary-4th-of-july-3429198].
13th Annual Star Spangled Fourth of July at the Mall of Georgia, Buford
The Mall of Georgia, 333 Buford Dr., Buford, hosts free events for kids and families, beginning at 5 p.m., with the opening of the Kids Zone and a free concert in the Village Amphitheatre. Captain America and Wonder Woman will make appearances, and there will be chances to win prizes from participating Mall of Georgia stores. Fireworks begin at 9:35 p.m., followed by a screening of "The Hunger Games-Mockingjay, Part I," on a 70-foot big screen in the parking lot across from Dick's Sporting Goods. The event is free, though all day wristbands for the bounce house ($20) and Rock Wall tickets ($5) are available. For more information, visit the Mall's web site [simon.com/mall/mall-of-georgia].
Star Spangled Snellville, Snellville
The city's Independence Day celebration is held on the Towne Green from 3 to 10 p.m., and offers family friendly entertainment, including a large playground of inflatables, train rides and a space ball. Bring blankets and chairs for the music and fireworks show. For more information, visit the Snellville Tourism's web site [http://www.snellvilletourism.com/events/star-spangled-snellville]
Fourth in the Park, Marietta
The celebrations begin at 10 a.m. and includes a parade, free live concerts, museum tours, arts and crafts show, food, carnival games and a fireworks finale. For more information, call Marietta Parks and Recreation at (770) 794-5601.
Walton County Freedom Fest/4th of July Celebration, Monroe
Walton County Freedom Fest/4th of July Celebration will be held at Legion Field, 121 Blaine Street, Monroe. A family-oriented community celebration, the event features live music, free food, children's activities and fireworks, beginning at 5 p.m. Musical performers include The Nick Savage Bang, St. Francis and Louis The Finger, who will appear on the Main Stage; and Meikii and Mile from Meadow, appearing on side stages. A DJ will also be on hand. Hosted by volunteers from churches and other community organizations, the event also receives help from the Walton County Fire Department, which will set off fireworks at dark, and the City of Monroe Police and Walton County Sheriff's departments, who assist with traffic control. For more information, visit the Monroe Freedom Fest Facebook page
Henry County Fireworks Extravaganza, Hampton
The Henry County Fireworks Extravaganza will be held from 2 to 10 p.m. at Nash Farm, 100 Babbs Mill Rd., Hampton. Festivities include live music, a car, motorcycle and truck show, a children's play area, inflatables, zipline, hayrides, festival foods, a Bingo tournament, raffle with cash prizes, craft vendors, a beer and wine garden. Fireworks begin around 9:30 p.m. For more information, visit the web site [http://visithenrycountygeorgia.com/list/events/events-henry-county-fireworks-extravaganza].
Salute to the Red, White and Blue, East Point
"Salute to the Red, White and Blue 4th of July Hometown Celebration" features activities for the whole family, including vendor markets, musical performances, food culminating with fireworks at 9:30 p.m. above East Point, at 2757 Main Street, East Point. For more information, email GeneralInfo@downtowneastpoint.com.
Red, White & Brew at the Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta
Celebrate Fourth of July with dinner, drinks and a great view of Centennial Olympic Park's firework show at Georgia Aquarium's Red, White & Brew, The event starts at 7 p.m. in the Oceans Ballroom, 225 Baker Street, and features food, live music and unlimited beer for adults 21 and older. Tickets are $55; $45 for members. Firewords being approximately 9:40 p.m. and can be viewed on the Aquarium's parking deck rooftop. Information and tickets are available on the Aquarium's web site [https://www.georgiaaquarium.org/experience/support/how-to-donate/fundraising-events/red-white-brew].
Fourth of July Extravaganza, Children's Museum of Atlanta
Geared for children ages 8 and under, the museum's Fourth of July celebrations invite kids to make their own flag to wave in the Fourth of July Parade , then stay to join their families in singing "The Star Spangled Banner," and "You're a Grand Ole Flag!" The two hour program, which begins at noon, concludes with indoor, imagination "fireworks" that involves feet and bubble wrap. The cost is free with the $12.75 admission fee. www.childrensmuseumatlanta.org