ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Friday night marked the 20th anniversary of the Marine Corps Logistics Base's annual Independence Day celebration. Marines invited the community onto the base.
More than 10,000 people were expected to arrive for the fun and the fireworks display at sunset.
It took several months of effort to put the community event on. It was impressive to see just who was hard at work putting the incredible night together.
Marine volunteers were displaying the stars and stripes, working alongside civilians.
"We are setting up all the tents for everyone to have a good time, set up the bouncy houses, the water slides... there will be food... it will be a good time," said Corporal Devante Mimms.
There may have been more vendors than ever at the event, and there was a lot to see and do.
"We have so many inflatables, I think 13 different ones out here," said Kelley Hall, Marine Corps Community Services.
There were live bands, large military equipment to see, and of course food.
"We are going to be doing some hamburgers, sausage dogs, funnel cakes, shaved ice, smoothies, Philly steak, chicken strips, nachos, chili cheese fries--the whole meal deal!", laughed Bonita Henry, Henry's Concession of Moultrie.
"Oh, yes! We've got 18 food vendors out here, so it is a fantastic array of choices out here, it's the most I've seen out here anyway," said Hall.
Besides the food, the fireworks display is why people come out.
It was gratitude that inspired one Marine to lend a hand.
"To let them know they are loved, that we really care about them just as much as they care about us," said Cpl. Mimms.
Here are a couple of quick tips if you and your family head over to MCLB Albany for the event:
- style="margin-left: 40px;">Bring cash for the vendors.
- style="margin-left: 40px;">No coolers, but you can bring a blanket and chair to enjoy the show.
Base officials said they were getting lots of phone calls with questions about parking, security, and what to bring before coming.
The gates closed for four hours on Friday as Marine Police set up the final security checks.
People will be directed by security to park in one of the nearby lots, and there will be shuttle buses for people who have difficulty walking.
There will also be a security check.
"They are going to go through a magnetometer, so we are checking for weapons. Bags are subject to inspection, but no coolers," said Hall.
You can bring your folding chairs and blankets to lay out once you get safely inside the gates.
Vendors and Marines were preparing since early Friday morning for the event.
One quick tip is to bring cash for the vendors. Not everyone will accept credit and debit cards.
Of course, the big event Friday night will happen at sunset with the annual fireworks display.
Gates will be open until 10 p.m.
It's a free event, and there will be plenty of time for people to come down to see the light show.