4th of July fest held at SW Georgia Exchange Club Fairgrounds - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

4th of July fest held at SW Georgia Exchange Club Fairgrounds

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Set up of one of the stages at the Southwest Georgia Exchange Club fairgrounds for the Independence Day celebration Set up of one of the stages at the Southwest Georgia Exchange Club fairgrounds for the Independence Day celebration
James Murray, Vendor James Murray, Vendor
Suzanne Davis, Parks and Recreations Director Suzanne Davis, Parks and Recreations Director
Dale Henry, Fireworks Coordinator Dale Henry, Fireworks Coordinator
Cpl. Jon Segroves, Albany Police Department Cpl. Jon Segroves, Albany Police Department
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

35,000 people are expected to bring in this year's Independence Day at the Southwest Georgia Exchange Club fairgrounds for the first time.

Event organizers said the festival and the fireworks will go on rain or shine.

Now, visitors are at the fairgrounds enjoying bar-be-que and live music to celebrate our nation's birthday.

Volunteers and the director of the event started setting up around 4am Thursday morning, and have been working hard to kick off the 2013 4th of July celebrations.

And the Albany Police Department has stepped up security to keep the public safe.

Officers said people should just be able to kick back and enjoy a good time.

As the grills were fired up, and tents were set up, vendors got ready for a big celebration.

"Every year Albany has a nice fourth of July celebration.  So we try to come out and have fun.  We like to see the event more than we like to cater," said James Murray, Vendor. 

This year's celebration was moved to the fairgrounds, and has a lot to offer visitors.

"Once they come in, we'll have them come in through the community village.  It's an area that has local vendors and organizations, and they all have something for kids to do.  That's where the community mural is.  And we have the arts village," said Suzanne Davis, Parks and Recreations Director.

Two stages have been set up for local bands, and people can even catch a live wrestling show at 6.

But the fireworks are the most anticipated part of any Independence Day celebration.

"We've got probably over a thousand arrow shells out here.  We've got probably three thousand or better in the ground display that we're gonna have.  The ground display is gonna be unreal," said Dale Henry, Fireworks Coordinator.

Henry said planning for the show started back in May.

"It's gonna be a lot of fun.  If the rain will hold off.  Weather it holds off or not, we're gonna shoot.  If we get delayed, we're gonna wait a few minutes, and we can still shoot the show.  It won't be a problem," said Henry. 

Officers said the thousands of people who show up won't have to worry about their safety for this year's event

Visitors will have to go through security checks to get in, and dogs already swept the area before the grounds even opened. 

"There is gonna be a presence out here.  There will be some officers you may not realize are officers.  And that's one of the ways we plan on keeping the area safe, is just by having people blend in and look like part of the crowd just to make everybody safe, so we can keep an eye on things," said Cpl. Jon Segroves, Albany Police Department.

Segroves said the police hope to see a big crowd come out, and just plan on making sure everyone has fun in a safe environment.

The fireworks show is scheduled to start at 9:15.

The Parks and Recreation Director says the movie showing planned after the fireworks is the only part of the day that could be canceled by weather.

She also said people are welcome to bring chairs, but said people will not be able to bring coolers or tents onto the fairgrounds.

Free bus rides from downtown to the fairgrounds are being offered.

Tickets for the festival are just $2 per person, or $5 for cars with up to six people.  If you exit leave the part before the fireworks show, you'll have to pay again to get in.

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