Families blanket fairgrounds for Perry Freedom Fireworks

awomack@macon.comJune 29, 2014 

PERRY -- The smell of funnel cakes hung in the air as families awaited bright bursts of light in the sky Sunday at Perry’s Freedom Fireworks Celebration.

A couple hundred cars were parked even before the Georgia National Fairgrounds’ advertised 7 p.m. opening.

Pushing strollers, pulling coolers and toting lawn chairs slung over shoulders, a steady stream of people filed their way in to claim a patch of grass for the big show.

Sitting about halfway between the music stage and the entrance, Greg and Annolene White, of Perry, sat waiting for their daughter and her family to arrive.

A downpour in the distance and a pop of lightning didn’t seem to bother them.

“We think it’s fabulous,” Annolene White said.

Although the temperature hovered in the low 90s, clouds and a slight breeze made the heat tolerable.

The Whites said they went to the Big Bang Boom fireworks years ago, but stopped going because it had a more rowdy atmosphere.

Sunday’s event, the second one hosted by the Perry Chamber of Commerce, was more family oriented, Annolene White said.

Footballs spiraled through the air. Frisbees whizzed.

Children zoomed down slides and hopped on air-filled bounce houses as they waited for dusk and the fireworks to begin.

James and Whitney Hamilton, of Macon, set up a picnic behind their car near the entrance for a quick getaway after the last firework.

They brought their children -- ages 3 months, 3 and 4 -- to see their first fireworks.

“We hope we can see them from here,” James Hamilton said as he ate a hot dog wrapped in aluminum foil.

“We grilled before we came so we can sit out here and relax,” he said.

Bonnie Giles, the chamber’s director of events and communications, said she got several calls from people wanting to reserve space for family reunions and corporate picnics.

Many people drove over to the fairgrounds right after the town’s Independence Parade, she said.

“It’s a large crowd,” Giles said. “It looks like everybody is having a good time.”

With no admission cost, it’s something people can do that’s not expensive, she said.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

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