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Independence Day celebration at International Park

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Folks in the Southern Crescent will only have to go as far as Clayton County International Park to enjoy Fourth of July fireworks this Sunday. For only $10 per person, visitors will be able to enjoy the nighttime display, in addition to a day of picnicking, musical performances, a live disc jockey, and full access to "The Beach."

The county's annual Fourth of July Celebration will take place all day Sunday at International Park, located at 2300 Highway 138 S.E., in Jonesboro. The park will open at 8 a.m., and visitors will have access to "The Beach" starting at 10 a.m.

According to Clayton County International Park Administrator Troy Stubbs, Atlanta Pyrotechnics International, Inc., will host a fireworks display starting at dark, around 9:15 p.m. He said 7,500 people came to last year's display and that the park expects more people this year.

"This will be our third consecutive year of doing it [the Fourth of July Celebration] with fireworks," Stubbs said. "Our [attendance] numbers are up compared to years previously. With the economy being the way it is, a lot more people are staying close to home. You can't get an experience like this anywhere in Atlanta, or on the Southside at all. You have the sand in your feet, you have water slides with new attractions, [and] you have fireworks."

Stubbs said visitors to the park will enjoy a "holiday-only" admission fee to the park, covering parking and providing full access to the water slides, swimming areas, "water trampoline," kiddy pool, Adventure Golf miniature golf course, and volleyball courts, inside "The Beach."

Outside of "The Beach," families will be able to enjoy picnic areas, playgrounds, soccer fields, hiking and bike trails, a fishing lake, and a softball field.

According to Parks and Recreation Department Marketing and Sales Manager Amy Keeney, the "Pan People Steelband" will play Caribbean music at "The Beach," from 11:30 a.m., to 12:30 p.m., and 1 to 2 p.m., and "Infinity Show Band," will perform between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m., and 4 to 5 p.m. From 10 a.m., to 6 p.m., a live DJ will perform between band performances, she said.

Keeney said the event will be a more "family-friendly" alternative to other Fourth of July events, such as the Peach Drop in downtown Atlanta. She said the event will also provide youths and adults with a number of different activities throughout the day, as opposed to just the fireworks.

"Basically, it's going to give people a variety of things to do all day," Keeney said. "It's going to be a little different, a little more festive, a little more fun. You are only paying $10 per person, so it is very affordable. It's much easier than trying to get downtown."