Spirits remain high despite rainstorm

Rain interrupted the start of Fourth of July festivities at the Augusta Common on Saturday evening, causing attendees to crowd together under terraces.

But the showers quickly dissipated, allowing the big fireworks show to go on.

"The fireworks are the best part. It's just an awesome display," said John Harris, 26, who was downtown with his 7-year-old daughter, Kaiya. "It's something to do. My daughter enjoys it."

Augusta special events director Yolanda Marshall said the weather was keeping the crowd smaller than the year before, when the city took over the event.

She said the event at the Common is beloved by many families, with activities for children and plenty of food and drink .

Not everyone is happy with what the event has become since it was taken over by the city and lost its pony rides. Georgia Brown and her husband, George, said they came out for the fireworks, but it wasn't just the rain that had them disappointed.

"There's nothing to do," said 12-year-old David, as his brothers Freddy, 17, and Robert, 9, looked on in agreement.

The scaled-back event, which Richmond County Deputy Walter Ashley said used to start before 4 p.m. and stretch over to activities at the depot, does mean less work for authorities. He said 20 officers were working Saturday night, not including those that would help block off parts of the road to help people exit safely after the fireworks.

Even as the rain fell, Jerry Johnson was smiling and laughing with customers buying fried fish from his stand on the east side of the Common.

The owner of Amelia's Fish Market on Deans Bridge Road said the event is great for business and he always stays "until they make me leave."