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Independence Day preparations under way

Light the sparklers and fire up the grill: It’s Fourth of July weekend in Middle Georgia.

And from a pyro-musical to an artillery demonstration to old-fashioned fireworks shows, there’s no shortage of ways to celebrate during the next three days.

The festivities ignite tonight at the 26th annual Independence Day concert at McConnell-Talbert Stadium in Warner Robins.

The concert will feature music from renowned Motown artists The Miracles, as well as the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

It also will include an F-15 flyover and the biggest fireworks show in the region, said concert organizer Allen Tatman.

Gates open at 6 p.m., and the concert will start at 7 p.m, Tatman said.

“Bring a good attitude and maybe a lawn chair or a blanket,” he said.

Alcoholic beverages, glass containers and pets are prohibited. Admission is free.

Tatman said he expects more than 20,000 people to show up.

Friday, The Georgia Music Hall of Fame will host two outdoor Fourth of July concerts.

From noon to 1 p.m., the 116th U.S. Army National Guard Band will perform patriotic and traditional favorites, and from 7-9 p.m., the 116th’s Funk Band will play a special First Friday R&B and funk show.

Both performances are free to the public on the front patio, and free cold beverages will be served.

Concert organizer Lisa Love said the highlight of the concerts will be the opportunity to sign postcards that will be sent to soldiers serving overseas.

Saturday, if you’re in the mood for a day of picnicking, swimming or boating, you can go to Lake Tobesofkee’s 14th annual Sparks Over the Park celebration at Sandy Beach Park in Macon.

The celebration will start at 9 a.m. and will include food, live music and, most importantly, a fireworks show. Music will begin at 6 p.m. and the fireworks will go off at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $5 per person or $10 per carload after 6 p.m.

Event organizer Doug Furney said the best place to watch the fireworks display is at the west end of Sandy Beach Park, near the pavilion, but that the show could be viewed from Claystone Park as well.

Furney said he expects at least 3,000 people to come out for the event. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.

Other Independence Day festivities in Middle Georgia include:

MACON

Ÿ Fort Hawkins Fourth of July Celebration, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday: Fort Hawkins will provide live music, artillery demonstrations and a special historical presentation by an actor portraying Revolutionary War veteran Col. Benjamin Hawkins. Admission is free. Benefit barbecue plates from Fresh Air BBQ will be available for $12.50. Call Marty Willett at 742-3003 for more information.

WARNER ROBINS

Ÿ Breakfast at Christ Chapel Church, 8 a.m. Saturday: The church will host a free breakfast to honor public safety, military personnel and veterans. The public is invited. Call Terry Theus at 397-6121 for more information.

FORSYTH

Ÿ Independence Day Fireworks Celebration: Fireworks will go off at 9:30 p.m. Friday from the Monroe County Recreation Complex. Inflatable moonwalks will be available for the kids and food vendors will be on hand. No alcohol allowed. Admission is free. Call 994-7747 for more information.

GREENSBORO

Ÿ BLAST! Phil Driscoll and Friends, 8 p.m. Friday: A concert and fireworks presentation set to the sounds of musician Phil Driscoll will take place at The Ritz -Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation Lakefront.

ALAMO

Ÿ Independence Day Celebration, Saturday, starting at 8 a.m.: The streets of downtown Alamo will be filled with arts and crafts, street dances, waters rides for kids and a fireworks show at dusk.

Information from The Telegraph’s archives was included in this report. To contact writer Carl Lewis, call 744-4347.

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