The popular Armed Forces Day celebration known as Thunder Over Augusta has been cancelled this year, organizers said Monday.
This would have been the third consecutive year for the free, day-long event at the Evans Towne Center Park. It was started in 2008 by three businessmen -- Andy Jones, Donnie Thompson and Dale Phelon -- as a way to show appreciation for the military community. It was held in downtown Augusta for three years, but had to be cancelled in 2011 because of construction on Reynolds Street. It was moved to Evans in 2012, and quickly became the county’s largest public event.
Last year’s event featured helicopter rides, military and police demonstrations, live music and one of the area’s largest fireworks shows.
Columbia County officials said they were informed last week that the event, scheduled for May 17, would not happen as planned.
Thompson said he recently determined he would have to “take a year off” from organizing the military tribute. He said that although it was “very expensive” to produce, time was the biggest factor behind the cancellation.
“It takes hundreds and hundreds of hours to put this together,” he said. “We just have too many other projects going on right now.”
Thompson said he was considering holding the event every other year in the future, but that he was still committed to bringing it back to Evans next year.
“It can’t be held in Augusta any more. It’s gotten too big,” he said. “When we bring it back it will stay in Columbia County.”