Compiled by Johnny Jackson
Henry County residents will have the opportunity to celebrate the nation's 234th birthday in a variety of ways, and they won't have to travel far to participate in them.
Several organizations around the county are hosting Fourth of July festivities:
Friday, July 2
* The Atlanta Motor Speedway will have a fireworks display as a part of its Friday Night Drags event, according to Marcy Scott, spokeswoman for the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Tickets are $7 for adults, and are free for children under six, said Scott. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. The fireworks display, sponsored by Marco's Pizza, begins around 9:30 p.m. To learn more, visit the Atlanta Motor Speedway web site, at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.
Saturday, July 3
* The City of Hampton will host its annual July Fest on Saturday, said Candy Franklin, the Main Street director for the City of Hampton. The free event will begin with a parade at 11 a.m., at McBrayer Park, located at College Street and Central Avenue in Hampton. The festivities -- to be held at the park until 3 p.m. -- will include such games as the water balloon toss, a watermelon-eating contest, as well as a water slide, inflatable games, concessions and music. LifeSouth's Blood Mobile also will be available for blood donations, throughout the event. For more information, call Franklin at (770) 946-4306.
* The Henry County Parks and Recreation Department will host its Ninth Annual Georgia Independence Day Festival, on Saturday and Sunday, from 3 until 10 p.m., at Nash Farm Park, 4361 Jonesboro Road in Hampton, according to Ashleigh Roell, special events coordinator for the department. The event is $5 for all ages; children five and under are free. The Revolutionary War-themed event will include reenactments by the Royal North Carolina Artillery, performances by blacksmith Trenton Tye, inflatables, rock-wall climbing, and various other carnival games. There will be food and craft venders and dancers. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m., both nights. For more information, call the department at (770) 288-7300, or visit www.hcprd.org.
Sunday, July 4
* The City of McDonough will host its annual July 4th Ice Cream Social on Sunday, beginning at 7 p.m., on the McDonough Square. Vanilla and chocolate ice cream will be free, while supplies last, said Casey Case, media relations specialist with the City of McDonough. Casey said Henry County State Court Judge Jason Harper will be the event's guest speaker. Both the First Baptist Church of McDonough choir and the McDonough First United Methodist choir will entertain with patriotic songs. Those attending are encouraged to bring chairs, or blankets. For more information, call McDonough City Hall at (770) 957-3915.
* Panola Mountain State Park will host a fireworks viewing activity, "Starlight and Fireworks," on Sunday, from 7:30 until 10 p.m. Participants will hike up the mountain to view the various fireworks displays around metro Atlanta. Organizers of the hike recommend participants wear sturdy shoes and not bring strollers. Participants should arrive at least 15 minutes early, said Louise Todd, an events organizer and seasonal interpreter with the Panola Mountain State Park. Hikers can park at the main entrance, at 2600 Ga. Highway 155 in Stockbridge, for $5. Todd said the hike will cost $10 per person with a limit of 25 people, but hikers are welcome to bring their own refreshments. For more information, call Todd at (770) 389-7801.
* Community Bible Church, at 2001 Jodeco Road in Stockbridge, will host its Freedom Fest 2010 on Sunday, at 5:30 p.m., until about 10 p.m., according to Jimmy Bradley, the church's facilities director. The free event will feature a car show, a Freedom Motorcycle Ride and an Arts and Crafts Festival, as well as live music, prize giveaways, a hot-dog-eating contest, children's activities, and a fireworks display. For more information, call Bradley at (770) 914-0808, or visit www.communitybiblechurch.com.