Having a blast

About 40,000 watch downtown fireworks

An estimated 40,000 people gathered downtown Sunday night to watch Augusta's July 4 fireworks display.


Graylin and Jacqueline Heath said they have brought their daughters to the show since they were little girls.


"We have come down here every year," said Graylin Heath. "We have tapes and T-shirts."


They used to record videos of the fireworks and their daughters, now 17 and 19, but now the girls are more interested in talking to their friends who come to Riverwalk Augusta for the big blast.


The Heaths parked at the Richmond County Board of Education and set up chairs along Reynolds Street for an easy exit.


Thousands more gathered on the levee slopes to watch the fireworks, which were set off from the South Caro­lina end of the Fifth Street bridge.


"We have been here since 4 o'clock," said April Dubose and Whitney Kent, best friends from Augusta who had bought matching red, white and blue plaid dresses for the Fourth.


Also arriving early for the 9:30 p.m. show were Joan and Johnnie Stephens, of Aiken.


"It's a lot of fun," said Johnnie Steph­­ens, wearing a shirt patterned with horses and American flags. "It's the time of year to celebrate and be patriotic."


One vendor attributed the high turnout in part to temperatures that were about six degrees cooler than normal. About 9 p.m. it was 81 degrees in Augusta.

Reach Susan McCord at (706) 823-3215
or susan.mccord@augustachronicle.com.