WARNER ROBINS -- Warner Robins police are gearing up for site security and traffic management Thursday during the city’s annual Independence Day Celebration.
Gates at McConnell-Talbert Stadium open at 6 p.m. for the event, featuring the Southern rock band 38 Special. Music is expected to start about 8 p.m., with fireworks at 10 p.m.
Assistant Police Chief John Wagner said rules for the event and designated parking areas remain the same -- with one exception. The C.B. Watson School parking is reserved for participants in the 5-K Rockin’ into the Night 5K Glo Run, which starts at midnight after the event.
“We’re not reinventing the wheel,” Wagner said. “We’ve been doing it for years and we’ve had a lot of success with it.”
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Wagner said those who attend should stay hydrated, with the National Weather Service predicting a high Thursday of 98.
He also asked motorists to be patient after the fireworks, as police work to get everyone out safely and to prepare for the 5K run.
The basic ground rules are no weapons, backpacks, bikes, skateboards, tents or pets, unless they’re service animals. Participants may bring a cooler, but no glass products or alcohol are allowed. Smoking is prohibited.
There will be road closures, starting with Third Avenue from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to South Davis Drive, which is expected to be closed to all traffic all day Thursday.
At 5 p.m., Demon Valley Drive will be closed to all traffic. At 7 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from the four-way stop at University Boulevard to the rear entrance of the stadium will be closed to all southbound vehicular traffic.
There are eight designated areas for general parking: McConnell-Talbert Stadium, Warner Robins High School, Rumble Academy, Lindwood Drive Area, Sacred Heart Church, Robins Federal Credit Union, Middle Georgia State College and the city of Warner Robins Municipal Complex. The ninth parking area is the one designated for the 5K runners at the C.B. Watson School.
No parking is allowed along city streets, shoulders, rights of way, sidewalks or any of the grass areas of Robins Federal Credit Union, Sacred Heart Church, Middle Georgia State College, or Houston County Board of Education property.
Motorists who park improperly can expect to have their vehicles towed at their own expense, police said.
The stadium’s Main Gate and the Demon Valley/Davis Drive Gate are the designated entry/exit points for pedestrians.
An area adjacent to the stadium’s Main Gate is reserved for handicapped parking. Vehicles must be properly permitted and displayed in order for motorists to park here. Space is limited, so police suggest arriving early.
A medical triage area will be set up outside the stadium’s Main Gate, which will provide centralized access to first responders and EMS services.
In case of emergency, those attending should contact the nearest public safety officer.
The event is the first since the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve was disbanded because of budget cuts.