Henry Rodeo ensures Independence Day fireworks

Preparations are gearing up for the annual the Fourth of July celebration at Nash Farm Battlefield. The Henry County Rodeo Association is sponsoring the Independence Day observance.

"This year, Henry County does not have the funds to put on an event like this, as in years past," said Michelle Eubanks, spokesperson for the Henry County Rodeo Association.

In 2008, the county contracted with Atlanta Pyrotechnics International, Inc., to provide the fireworks show at Nash Farm Battlefield, according to the county's finance director, Mike Bush. "Henry County paid $15,000 total, for a two-night fireworks display," said Bush.

It was the last year the annual fireworks event at the historic facility was paid for the county, according to county officials. "In 2009, after considering canceling the event due to the economy, commissioners and others were able to raise $10,500 in donations for the Georgia Independence Day Festival, of which the fireworks were part," said Julie Hoover-Ernst, the county's communications director.

In 2010, the fireworks display was no longer a county event, but was sponsored a local cable station, SBN-TV(Signature Broadcasting Network), added Hoover-Ernst.

"In 2011, Henry County has completely stepped away from producing this event," Hoover-Ernst continued. "The commissioners did not want taxpayers to fund fireworks displays when budgets were having to be cut in other areas."

This year's Fourth of July celebration is being put on as a privately-funded event, she added. The Henry County Rodeo Association is a non-profit organization, which sponsors the annual Henry County Rodeo. Proceeds from the rodeo are donated to a different charity, each year.

The two-day, Independence Day celebration will begin Sunday, July 3, and continue Monday, July 4, starting at 3 p.m. The fireworks display will begin between 9 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. It will last 30 minutes, according to the Rodeo Association's Eubanks.

Parking for the event is $20 per vehicle, with a six-passenger limit. Entry into the event is free. Festivities include children's activities, strolling actors, food and merchandise, re-enactments, living history with themes of the American Revolutionary War era, according to Eubanks.

Outside food, or beverages, will not be permitted inside Nash Farm during the event, she said. However, a variety of food will be available for purchase from 10 to 12 different food vendors.

Offerings will include homemade root beer, ice cream, hot dogs and hamburgers. Ten vendors will sell jewelry, pop guns, shawls, purses, and other arts and crafts.

Two live bands, Mackie Creek, and Timeless Highway, are scheduled to provide entertainment. They will perform 45 minutes following the fireworks displays on both nights. DJ Steve, of Conyers, will also appear.

Piedmont Hospital, Heritage Bank, Willet Honda South, and Active Pest Control are additional supporters of the event, Hoover-Ernst said.