Independence concert canceled for good, fireworks may be rescheduled

chwright@macon.comJuly 8, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- After being rained out twice, the Independence Day concert in Warner Robins is officially off. But the fireworks show may still go on, said organizer Allen Tatman.

“We’ve got to look at what all the options are, what’s the best option for us,” Tatman said Monday.

Tatman said the Civitan Club hopes to have an answer to what will become of the fireworks show in the next few days. Rescheduling the pyrotechnics raises questions of money and location.

The concert and fireworks were supposed be held Wednesday as a final farewell to the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, which sponsored the event in the past but didn’t this year due to military cutbacks. But the event became a victim of one of the midstate’s rainiest summers in recent history and was rescheduled for Sunday, when it was again called off.

Mayor Chuck Shaheen, who has supported the farewell concert, could not be reached for comment.

Tatman said several Reserve band members delayed their move to other bases until after the scheduled Wednesday concert. All but two left Thursday morning. Those two were ready to take the stage Sunday when Southern rock band Stillwater and homegrown singer and actress Bobbie Eakes were scheduled to perform.

“They’ve done so much,” Tatman said. “They’ve all but bent over backwards. Everybody has.”

Tatman said the $80,000 raised for the concert was spent on the first two attempts, and more community donations likely are needed for a third.

“When you got the second largest fireworks show in the state and you start to reschedule it, the cost of rescheduling it becomes more than it was to begin with,” Tatman said.

He added the location also may no longer be at McConnell-Talbert Stadium.

For the years to come, Tatman said he’s confident the community will help keep the tradition going even without the Reserve band. The Civitan Club will need better expertise in putting the show on, but it can be done.

“We don’t have a Cherry Blossom Festival. We don’t have a Dogwood Festival or a Peach Festival. But we did have an Independence Day celebration,” Tatman said. “I think Warner Robins needs an event to look forward to.”

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.

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