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Fireworks, festivals and fun planned for Fourth

By Shannon Jenkins

Fireworks, food and festivities highlight the many Independence Day events scheduled for the next three days in metro-Atlanta.

Most celebrations will be held over the weekend, with a few events planned for Monday.

At Stately Oaks in Jonesboro and Heritage Park in McDonough there will be costumes with a colonial appeal and fireworks. On Saturday, Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County Inc. will host its first Independence Day Celebration at Stately Oaks. Revolutionary War re-enactors will highlight the event, and proceeds will benefit the antebellum home. The Georgia Independence Day Festival will feature colonial re-enactors at Heritage Park in McDonough on Sunday and Monday with scenes from the Revolution.

For more traditional events in Clayton County, visit the city of Morrow's Summer Fest on Saturday or Forest Park's annual Beach Bash at Starr Park on July 4. In Henry County, Peachtree Peddlers will host its annual Fireworks Extravaganza on Saturday and Community Bible Church will host Freedom Fest '05 on Sunday.

Some events in Clayton County include the following:

Jonesboro July 4 parade

Jonesboro residents will celebrate Independence Day with a parade and an event at Stately Oaks on Saturday.

The parade is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. behind City Hall and will proceed from there south on Main Street to the old train depot, where it will cross the railroad tracks to McDonough Street. The parade will end at Masonic Lodge No. 87 at 142 N. McDonough where the annual 4th of July barbecue will begin at 11 a.m.

Donations of $6 will be accepted for the barbecue.

Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County Inc. will hold its first Independence Day Celebration at Stately Oaks on Jodeco Road from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants will be able to "drill" with the Continental Army under the direction of Revolutionary War re-enactor Denis Byrd. Period games and dancing will be available, as well as gingerbread and apple cider. At 2 p.m. there will be a reading of the Declaration of Independence.

Admission is free, but donations will also be accepted to support Stately Oaks. Call (770) 473-0197 for more information.

Morrow Summer Fest

The city of Morrow is holding its Summer Fest from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday at 5917 Reynolds Place, an open field next to Jesters Creek. Admission is free and there will be a variety of activities and music. Free parking will be available at Rock Springs Baptist Church and at New Mount Calvary AME. For more information, call (770) 968-1623.

Forest Park's Beach Bash at Starr Park

The city of Forest Park will hold its annual Beach Bash at Starr Park on July 4. The activities from 4 to 8 p.m. are free. A number of games and music will be provided. For more information, call (404) 363-2908.

Saturday event at Wal-Mart

The Wal-Mart in Lovejoy will have a day of activities Saturday in commemoration of the July 4th holiday.

Dubbed July Fest 2005, it will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There will be several live bands and a classic car show.

Any money raised during the day-long event will be donated to the Children's Miracle Network.

The following events will be available in Henry County:

Fireworks Extravaganza

Peachtree Peddlers will hold its 11th annual Fireworks Extravaganza Saturday beginning at noon. The event will feature live entertainment, children's activities, a petting zoo and helicopter rides. Jessica Charles will sing the national anthem just before the fireworks begin at dusk. For details, call Peggy or Gail at (770) 914-2269, extension 102, or visit www.peachtreepeddlers.com. Peachtree Peddlers is at Exit 221 on Interstate 75 at 155 Mill Road past SAM's Club

Freedom Fest '05

Community Bible Church will host Freedom Fest '05 on Sunday from 6 p.m. until dark. The outdoor celebration will include free food, entertainment, live music and fireworks. Local restaurants and businesses will sponsor the event. Children's activities will include a moonwalk, balloons, face painting, snow cones, cotton candy and age appropriate games. All Sunday morning services have been rescheduled for 6 p.m. The church is at 2001 Jodeco Road in Stockbridge.

Georgia Independence Day Festival

Heritage Park in McDonough will be the site of the Georgia Independence Day Festival on Sunday and Monday from 1 p.m. until dark. Fireworks will be held each night, and scenes from the Revolution will be held. Authentic colonial music and dancing with live bands will be available. Strolling actors will portray the nation's founders, and children can participate in colonial games. There will also be festival foods, craft displays, an inflatable slide, climbing wall and an obstacle course for children. The Christian alternative rock band Polaris will perform. Tickets are $5 for adults and teens ages 13 and up, $2 for ages 5 through 12 and free for children 4 and under. Additional parking will be available at Heritage Senior Center, the McDonough Library and Henry County High School, with complimentary shuttle service to the festival. For more information, call (770) 954-2031.

Fourth of July activities in and around Atlanta include:

Lenox Square

With a total of 4,184 fired shots including three teaser finales and a mega-grand finale, the 18-minute fireworks spectacular – set to launch at 9:40 p.m. on Monday – is the Southeast's largest. The party begins at 5 p.m. in the parking lot of Macy's, where musical performances entertain the crowd. During the day, from noon to 5 p.m., costumed characters, face painters, balloon artists and an Uncle Sam on stilts entertain kids inside the mall. Although the festivities take place in the Macy's parking lot, you can see the fireworks from any lot at the mall and most Buckhead establishments. Bring in your own alcohol or buy from the beer and wine vendors, with proper ID. Participating Lenox retailers celebrate by offering a 20 percent discount on July 4.

Peachtree Road Race

On Monday, the world's largest 10K starts at Lenox Square and follows Peachtree to 10th Street, ending near Piedmont Park. The quick run the 6.2-mile race in about 55 minutes; the slow can take up to two hours. Registration for the Independence Day tradition cuts off in mid-spring, with the world's most elite runners training to be the first to cross the victory line. The wheelchair division of the Peachtree Road Race follows the same 10K course as the foot race, but begins a half hour earlier at 7 a.m.

Race runners compete for a prize purse worth more than $79,500, but most are happy with the T-shirt. Almost as legendary as the race, this sought-after staple of summer fashion in Atlanta can only be had by running. Non-runners also come out for the early July 4th festivities. About 150,000 spectators line the streets to cheer on friends and family.

The crowds can get heavy at the Buckhead bars and other favorite watching spots, such as around Piedmont Hospital and at the 10th Street turn. Go early and bring a lawn chair.

To volunteer at the race, call the Atlanta Track Club. (404) 231-9064, extension 12.

Stone Mountain

Afternoons of grilling, hiking and biking come to a brilliant end when a laser show and fireworks display lights up the sky each night from today to Monday. Shows begin each night at 9:30 p.m. Stone Mountain's annual Fourth of July celebration makes for a fun family outing, as all of the park's attractions – including waterslides, the skylift to the top and the 4-D theater – are free with admission. Be prepared to deal with extremely large crowds over the holiday weekend – some groups arrive as early as 6 a.m. to stake out a spot for picnicking. The best place to watch the laser show is on Memorial Lawn. Alcohol is not sold at Stone Mountain. You can bring your own, but it's confined to designated areas of the park and is not permitted at the laser show. There's a $7 fee for each vehicle. The park has been known to stop admitting cars through the gates once the lots are full, which usually happens at about 2 p.m.

Information was complied by staff writers at the News-Daily and the Daily Herald.