Independence Day - the one time of the year when snap, crackle, pop doesn't refer to breakfast cereal and when playing with matches becomes a national pastime.
It can be difficult to leave the air-conditioned comfort of the great indoors and venture into the sweltering Southern summer, but Augusta-area celebrations could tempt the hearty into the heat. Here are some of the Fourth of July activities scheduled for the coming week:
Aiken fireworks: Aiken will celebrate Independence Day Saturday with a celebration at the Aiken County Fairgrounds off U.S. Highway 1. Gates open at 10 a.m., and the attractions include amusements, live music and games. Fireworks are scheduled to start at 9:15 p.m.
Hopeland Gardens concert: The City of Aiken Parks and Recreation Department's Hopelands Summer Concert Series continues with a return engagement by the U.S. Marine Corps Band. The performance is at 7 p.m. Monday on the Roland H. Windham Performing Arts Stage in Hopeland Gardens, Whiskey Road at Dupree Place in Aiken.
The concert is free and food is welcome, but alcohol is prohibited. In case of rain, the show will move to the H. Odell Weeks Recreation Center on Whiskey Road. For more information or for special-needs accommodations, call (803) 642-7631.
Fort Gordon Freedom Park: Independence Day celebration kicks off at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Freedom Park. The event includes music by Patrick Blanchard and the Big Mighty and the U.S. Army Signal Corps Band, concessions, face painting, free amusements and games for children. Fireworks are scheduled for 9:30 p.m. For more information, call 791-6779.
Little River Marina: The marina, at 4271 Old Lincolnton Road in Leah, will hold its annual Independence Day celebration Tuesday. Activities include horseshoes, races and a watermelon-seed-spitting contest. Festivities begin at noon, with fireworks scheduled for 9:30 p.m. Admission is $6 per car, $10 per van, $15 per bus or $3.50 for walk-ins.
Riverwalk Augusta: The annual festivities at Riverwalk Augusta kick off at noon Wednesday. Events include two stages with live entertainment, a parade featuring decorated boats, a balloon release and a concert by the U.S. Signal Corps Band at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater off Ninth Street. The fireworks are scheduled for 9:30 p.m. For more information, call 821-1754.
Star Spangled Fourth concert: Also on the Fourth, historic St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Reynolds Street will be the setting for A Star Spangled Fourth, a concert of patriotic music performed by a chorus of 50 singers accompanied by an orchestra of 23. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and $5 for age 12 and younger. Patrons' tickets cost $25 and include free reserved parking and reserved seating. For more information, call 722-6855.
Meadow Garden: Meadow Garden was once home to Declaration of Independence signer George Walton. The restored home, furnished with period antiques, will be open Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission for adults is $2.50, and children are admitted free. The home is at 1320 Independence Drive, near 13th Street and Walton Way.
Patriots Park: Columbia County's Independence Day celebration takes place from 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday at Patriots Park, 5445 Columbia Road. Activities include moonwalks, slides, an obstacle course, hot-air balloon lifts, clowns, a performance by the Columbia County Choral Society, food and fireworks. The pyrotechnics are scheduled to begin at 9:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 868-3458.
Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or email@example.com
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