Have a blast! Fourth of July events planned all week long

From the lakeshore to the riverbank, the Augusta area will show off its patriotic colors at barbecues, concerts, parades and more. Celebrations of America’s Independence Day begin Saturday and last all week.


The McCormick County, S.C., Chamber of Commerce has a weeklong schedule of festivities leading up to Thunder Over Thurmond. Outdoor adventures, boating activities, music, food and, of course, fireworks highlight the event.

Those looking for air-conditioned comfort can enjoy patriotic tunes at the 16th annual Star Spangled Fourth concert at St. Paul’s before fireworks on Riverwalk. Five local veterans will carry the flags of the military branches during a medley of the service anthems.

“It’s important to honor all those who gave their lives so we can enjoy the Fourth of July,” said the concert’s musical director, Keith Shafer.

The Fire Over Aiken fireworks event, which was held at the Aiken Fairgrounds in 2011, has been canceled. Officials announced on the Western Carolina State Fair Web site that they “will continue to seek sponsors in hopes to have the event in 2013.”


EDGEFIELD TURKEY PALOOZA AT THE WILD TURKEY CENTER, 770 Augusta Road, Edgefield, S.C., (803) 637-3106, www.nwtf.org/fireworks.

Start celebrating July Fourth early with the National Wild Turkey Federation. Before the fireworks at dark, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy fishing, air-gun shooting and archery. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources will have a virtual fishing and hunting trailer.

For children, face painting, a bounce house, an inflatable slide and hands-on pottery will be available.

Free admission includes a visit to the National Wild Turkey Federation Winchester Museum, which includes a U.S. Forest Service helicopter that provides a virtual prescribed burn scenario, animatronic characters and a shooting game. Outside coolers aren’t allowed, but food and drinks will be available. Bring a lawn chair.

THUNDER OVER THURMOND, Mack Park, 115 Main St., McCormick, S.C., and Plum Branch Yacht Club, 150 Sunset Point, Plum Branch, S.C., (864) 443-3000.

A week of events in McCor­mick begins with a parade and festivities sponsored by the Mims Reunion Foundation. The celebration begins at 10 a.m.

In the evening, enjoy music by the Mark Roberts Band at Plum Branch Yacht Club. The concert begins at 8 p.m.

FREEDOM BLAST, Thomson-McDuffie Government Center, 210 Railroad St., (706) 597-1000.

Come at 6 p.m. for children’s games, water sprays from a fire truck, hamburgers, hot dogs and ice cream. Music lasts all night with fireworks at dark.

The event is free except to reserve a table for $100, which includes seating for eight and reserved parking. Bring chairs, blankets and coolers, but no alcohol.


HOPELANDS GARDENS SUMMER CONCERT SERIES, 1700 Whiskey Road, Aiken, (803) 642-7631.

The Parris Island Marine Band plays a free concert at 7 p.m. at the beautiful Hopelands Gardens.

Shuttle service from the PRT Ceramics Center parking lot on Two Notch Road will be available. Bring a lawn chair and blanket. Picnics are permitted, but alcohol is prohibited.


FORT GORDON’S INDEPEN­DENCE DAY CELE­BRATION, Barton Field, Chamberlain Ave., (706) 791-6779, www.

Swing to the beat with live concerts featuring The Swingin’ Medallions and the U.S. Army Signal Corps Band. Enjoy carnival rides, water rides and more than 40 food and craft vendors.

Take a break from the sun in the large tent with seating. The festivities begin at 3 p.m. with fireworks at dark. The free event ends at 11 p.m.

Avoid lines by purchasing carnival tickets and armbands in advance at Aladdin Travel and Gordon Lanes.

Vehicles entering Fort Gordon at Gate 1 must have a valid ID for all passengers age 16 and older, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.

AUGUSTA GREENJACKETS BASEBALL, Lake Olmstead Stadium, 78 Milledge Road, (706) 736-7889, www.

What’s more American than a night at the ballpark? The Augusta GreenJackets take on the Savannah Sand Gnats at 7:05 p.m. A fireworks show is after the game.

General admission tickets start at $9 and are available online or at the GreenJackets box office. The Greenjackets also play at home on Sunday, July 1, at 5:35 p.m. and Monday, July 2, at 7:05 p.m.


FOURTH OF JULY AT PATRIOTS PARK, 5445 Columbia Road, (706) 312-7194, www.

Columbia County’s 18th annual Independence Day celebration features live entertainment beginning at 6:30 p.m. with the Stephen Lee Band, the U.S. Army Signal Corps Band and the Vellotones.

The gates open at 4 p.m., so come early for family games, carnival rides and children’s activities. Food and drink vendors also will be available. The largest fireworks show in the county starts at dark.

BAR-B-Q AT THE AUGUSTA JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER, 898 Weinberger Way, (706) 228-3636.

Bring your family to a pool-side feast with a menu of barbecued chicken, baked beans, salad, corn on the cob, potato salad, cole slaw, watermelon, cake and more. Lunch will be served at 2 p.m., but come early for pool games beginning at noon.

For members, the event costs $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 3 to 12 and seniors and a maximum of $35 for families.

Guests of the community center are welcome, but the price is slightly higher. The cost is $15 for adults, $7 for children ages 3 to 12 and seniors and a maximum of $50 for families.

BOAT PARADE AND BEACH PARTY, Dorn Sports Fishing and Boating Facility, State Road 33 and 124, McCormick, S.C., (866) 208-5901, and Savannah Lakes Marina Beach.

Decorate your boat in patriotic colors for the Fourth of July for the inaugural Independence Day boat parade at Lake Thurmond. Gather near the Dorn facility at 10 a.m. and parade past the judges stand starting at 10:30. Boats must register using the form found at www.tlsps.org no later than July 2.

A boat will pass out ice cream sandwiches to participants before ending at the Savannah Lakes Marina Beach. Trophies and various cash prizes will be awarded to the boats with the best decorations.

From noon to 4 p.m., the beach party continues at the marina beach with free hot dogs, adult activities, children’s games and contests. Bring chairs, blankets and other food and drinks.


Celebrate all night with festivities at the Augusta Common beginning at 4 p.m. Tap your toes to the music, grab food and drink from vendors and entertain children at the kids fun zone. The free event continues with fireworks at 9:30 p.m. from the Fifth Street Bridge. Bring lawn chairs and blankets to view from the Riverwalk. No pets or coolers are allowed.

STAR SPANGLED FOURTH CONCERT, St. Paul’s Church, 605 Reynolds St., (706) 722-3463, riverwalkseries.com.

An Independence Day chorus and orchestra comprised of local and regional singers and musicians will perform patriotic hits. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. followed by a dinner catered by Crum’s on Central. Five local veterans will present flags of the military branches.

Watch the Augusta River­walk fireworks from the church grounds. Concert tickets cost $15 and the barbecue is $20.

LEXINGTON COUNTY PEACH FESTIVAL AND FIREWORKS, Gilbert Community Park, Rikard Circle, Gilbert, S.C., www.lexingtoncountypeach

A parade and N3N Navy Trainer aircraft fly-over kicks off the festival at 9:30 a.m. Activities last until 11 p.m. and include an antique tractor and farm equipment display, a car show, three entertainment stages and a Revolutionary War reenactment. Children can enjoy rides and arts and crafts. The Peach Festival Volleyball Tournament will be held at Gilbert High School; and the Gilbert Community Club will sell barbecue, hamburgers, hot dogs, drinks and a variety of peach desserts.

A fireworks show begins at 10 p.m. Pets are not allowed.


GARY SINISE AND THE LT. DAN BAND, Fort Gordon’s Barton Field, Chamberlain Ave.,

Actor and musician Gary Sinise brings his band to Augusta for a free concert sponsored by the Augusta Warrior Project. Sinise stars on the TV series CSI:NY and named his band after the popular character he played in the 1994 film Forrest Gump. The Lt. Dan Band covers classics from Stevie Wonder to Jimi Hendrix and contemporary hits by Kelly Clarkson, Zac Brown Band and more. The band began playing for the USO in 2004 and plays more than 30 shows a year.

Gates open at 7 p.m. and music begins at 8 p.m. Bring blankets and lawn chairs.

All vehicles must enter gate 1 off Gordon Highway. Passengers age 16 and older must have a government-issued ID, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.

FORT GORDON CONCERT BAND, Mack Park, 115 N. Main St., McCormick, S.C.

Salute local veterans with the Fort Gordon Concert Band and Color Guard at 7 p.m. There will be an old-fashioned ice cream social and hot dogs.


TOWNWIDE YARD SALE AND GOSPEL MUSIC, S.C. Highway 28 at U.S. Highway 378, McCormick, S.C.

Pre-festivities for Thunder Over Thurmond continue with a giant, two-day yard sale held by the town of McCormick from 8 a.m. to noon. That night, local and professional gospel music groups will gather at the Dorn Boating Facility, State Road 33 and 124, McCormick, S.C. The music session begins at 6 p.m. and lasts until 10 p.m.


THUNDER OVER THURMOND, Dorn Sports Fishing and Boating Facility, State Road 33 and 124, McCormick, S.C., (866) 208-5901, www.

With music, air shows and fireworks, expect a blast at Thunder Over Thurmond. A full lineup of events begins with music at 4:30 p.m. Throughout the evening, watch biplanes and monoplanes fly over. At 7 p.m., the Silver Wings Jump Team will perform followed by the Gary Ward Airshow at 7:30 p.m.

The Fabulous Expressions will play music at 8 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9:45 p.m. but the night doesn’t end there. The Jimmy Van Zant Band takes the stage at 10:30 p.m. until midnight.

Gates open at 4 p.m. Parking and a shuttle service is available on S.C. Highway 378 and State Road 533-124.

General admission tickets cost $20. VIP tickets are available for $100 and include admission for one, a parking pass, reserved seating and a meal prepared by a local chef. Purchase tickets at the gate or visit www.tixonline.com

Festivities all day lead up to the big event. McCormick’s two-day yard sale continues, pan for gold or shop at the farmers and antiques markets. Visit www.thunder-over-thurmond.com for a full listing and locations.

AUGUSTA AMUSEMENTS BIG BAND SALUTES AMERICA, Jabez Hardin Performing Arts Center, 7022 Evans Towne Center Blvd., www.augusta
amusements.com/events.htm, (706) 726-0366.

Musicians from across the area joined together for the inaugural concert by the Augusta Amusements Big Band in February 2011. Now, the group of young and old performers are back for a July Fourth concert.

Rob Nordan, the executive director of the Columbia County Orchestra Association, will lead the band. The song selection will honor the military and include classic songs from Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and more.

A limited number of reserved seating tickets are available. Tickets are $20 and $25. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and music starts at 7:30 p.m.


AUGUSTA MUSEUM OF HISTORY, 560 Reynolds St., (706) 722-8454, augusta

Celebrate America’s independence with a visit to the history museum. View Revolutionary War artifacts, including a replica fort, swords, a cannon ball and a British tax stamp. Also on display is a locket with a portrait of George Walton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence from Augusta.

The museum will be open all week, including Independence Day. Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors, $2 for ages 6 to 18 and free for children under age 5.