Brass bands will play a red-white-and-blue streak at Augusta-area churches this holiday weekend.
The Fourth also will include old-fashioned ice cream socials and a family-fun day at Little River Marina.
About 60 singers from Millbrook Baptist Church in Aiken start things off with a preview of their musical tribute, America - A Patriotic Spectacular, at 8:50 tonight at the Jaycee Fairgrounds, Columbia Highway North in Aiken. The fairgrounds will open its holiday event at 5:30 p.m. today and cap it with fireworks at 9:15 tonight.
The singers will perform at 6 p.m. Sunday at the church, 176 E. Pine Log Road. Veterans and active-duty members of the armed services are invited to come in uniform. Families can bring a churn of their favorite ice cream.
Children will carry flags down the aisle at Woodlawn United Methodist Church, 2220 Walton Way, at 10:30 a.m. Sunday to honor veterans and their families. They will tell the stories their fathers and grandfathers passed on to them. Maddy Sharp, 9, a rising fourth-grader at Evans Elementary School, will narrate.
The Rev. David B. Hunter, pastor of Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, 825 Greene St., will build on the Scriptures and the writings of Abraham Lincoln and the Rev. Peter Marshall, chaplain to the U.S. Senate in the 1940s, for his sermon at the 8:30 and 10:45 a.m. services Sunday.
The service music also will honor the country's heritage as a predominantly Christian nation.
First Presbyterian Church, 642 Telfair St. - the oldest sanctuary in Augusta - will be the setting for a patriotic service at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Selections from American composer Randall Thompson, A Testament of Freedom and The Last Words of David, as well as traditional favorites such as God of Our Fathers and My Country 'Tis of Thee will be presented.
Patriotic tunes, marches and an ice cream social will follow at 7:45 p.m. in front of the church. The building's cornerstone was laid July 4, 1809, and Presbyterians have worshiped there since 1812.
The celebration at Little River Marina, 4271 Old Lincolnton Road in Leah, will open with worship at noon Monday. Some 150 boys and girls will lend their voices to a children's choir on a stage five times bigger than last year's, according to Pam Bugg, owner-manager.
A three-legged race, horseshoes, egg toss and melon-eating contests are from 3 to 5 p.m.
The friendly competition gives families a chance to play together - something parents don't do often enough, Ms. Bugg said.
Champion seed-spitters and melon-eaters also will likely return to defend their titles, she said. "Once you spit with somebody you kind of bond."
Some hold that the secret to good spitting is in the knees, but Ms. Bugg tends to hop before she lets fly, she said. "Sometimes you just get a good wind."
Fireworks will light up the sky over the marina about 9:30 p.m.
A 50-voice choir and 20-piece orchestra at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 605 Reynolds St., will perform A Star-Spangled Fourth concert complete with John Phillip Sousa marches and such rousing tunes as When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Dixie and America at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and $5 for children age 12 and younger. For information, call 722-6855.
The evening will end with the City of Augusta's fireworks extravaganza above the Savannah River about 9 p.m.
For more holiday happenings, see the Special Events listing in the Church Bulletin on Page 3C.