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Hall County welcomes Fourth with parades, pyrotechnics
Fireworks show at Laurel Park goes off under clear skies to cap holiday
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Dustin Ridling and John Waldrop prepare the fireworks display Saturday at Laurel Park. The finally includes 270 shells, which almost matches the number fired off during the rest of the display. - photo by Erin O. Smith

How to celebrate American Independence?

How about 15 minutes of pyrotechnic explosions echoing across Lake Lanier? What about thunderous chemical reactions and colorful fire blossoming to the “oohs” and “ahhs” of more than 1,000 spectators?

“It’s a good show. That’s a lot of fireworks,”said John Waldrop, who oversaw Saturday evening’s display at Laurel Park.

With a grand finale of 270 shells erupting in the sky, Waldrop said it’s an Independence Day show that’s tough to beat.

It was one of many events across Hall County commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

In Chicopee, they celebrated American Independence by affixing American flags to their truck beds or by taping red, white and blue poster boards to the backs of their cars. Then, they had a parade.

Jeff Hopwood of Chicopee enjoyed the “togetherness.”

Brothers Caleb and Luke Schrader said it’s a good chance to show patriotism.

Beth Stege, who has lived in Chicopee for 35 years, said “seeing people get together like this for one common cause, it’s good for the heart.”

Randy Cagle, who has lived in Chicopee for 45 years, eyed the cloudy skies Saturday morning.

“It ain’t gonna rain on this parade,” Cagle said, adding, “I hope.”

Despite a few distant flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder, skies mostly were clear leading up to Saturday evening’s fireworks display at Laurel Park on Lake Lanier.

American Legion Post Commander Dave Dellinger said the weather “turned out beautiful” for the festivities.

“We’re looking at total, probably of about 1,400 people here,” Dellinger said. “It looks like we’re going to do as well this year attendance-wise as we did last year.”

Stanley Jones of White County spent time at the park’s Sprayground, where he watched grandchildren Molly, 16 months, and August, 5 years old, play in the water.

Damon Johnson of Lumpkin County came out to Laurel Park with wife, Robin, son DJ, 7, and daughter, Brooklyn, 4.

“Wow, this place is pretty nice,” Robin Johnson said. “This is the first time we’ve been here.”

Waldrop said attendees like the Johnsons would not be disappointed by the fireworks show later in the evening.

“It’s going to be big,” Waldrop said. “It’s going to be something else.”

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