Organizers add road race to Warner Robins Independence Day celebration

alopez@macon.comApril 25, 2014 

Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms announced Friday that the 2014 Independence Day celebration will be sponsored by local auto dealer Jeff Smith.

ANDRES DAVID LOPEZ — THE TELEGRAPH

WARNER ROBINS -- This year, the city’s annual Independence Day celebration will feature what organizers are calling a “patriotic road race” set to start at the stroke of midnight on July 4.

The event’s organizer, the Downtown Development Authority, is working with the Warner Robins Police Department to create 5K and 10K routes, which will likely start and finish at McConnell-Talbert Stadium.

Runners will be able to register for the race hopefully by the end of this month, said Ken McCall, chairman of the Downtown Development Authority.

The free Independence Day celebration will begin July 3 at the stadium with a concert and a $40,000 fireworks show timed to recorded music of the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve. The band, which used to be an integral part of the annual tradition, was disbanded by the Air Force last year.

“It’s a 30-year tradition,” said Allen Tatman, of the civic organization Civitan. “I mean there are second- and third-generation people coming out here to the event. So we’ve partnered with the Downtown Development Authority to create the Independence Day celebration, and Jeff Smith has joined as the title sponsor for the this year‘s event. We’re pressing forward and looking for other community partners.”

Civitan organized the celebration last year. This year, the group is serving as a technical adviser. The event traditionally draws 10,000 to 15,000 people, Tatman said.

At the Warner Robins Convention and Visitors Bureau on Friday, Mayor Randy Toms announced auto dealer Jeff Smith as the Independence Day celebration’s title sponsor.

Jeff Smith committed $20,000 to the event, which will allow the Downtown Development Authority “to chase after a recognizable name artist” for the concert, said McCall.

Organizers previously estimated the whole event will cost $100,000 to $150,000. The city of Warner Robins has chipped in $30,000.

“This celebration is our opportunity to let America know that this is and always will be America’s most patriotic community,” said Rick Hall, Jeff Smith representative. “There is still time to come on board for this celebration, and we hope you will join us in making this a world class event.”

To contact writer Andres David Lopez, call 256-9751.

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