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City set to celebrate
Edmond Dennis hangs decorations for the city. In the background is the Cumming Fairgrounds, site of tonight’s fireworks show. - photo by Jennifer Sami

At a glance

The city of Cumming offers many family-oriented activities each Fourth of July. The schedule includes:

• Fireworks: This year’s city celebration will begin at 6 p.m. with food, vendors, games and music at the fairgrounds. Fireworks will begin about 9:30 p.m.
• Dance contest: 30 minutes after fireworks end tonight on the old sawmill stage at Cumming Fairgrounds. Music will be provided by the band Pine City, featuring Andrew Black. The top three finalists will receive a prize from radio station Thunder 104.3 WZTR FM.

• Parade: The 53rd annual Thomas-Mashburn Steam Engine Parade sets out at 10 a.m. from Forsyth Central High School. The procession will travel south along Castleberry Road before ending at the Cumming Fairgrounds. For more information, contact (770) 781-3491 or go online at
• Turtle race: 1 p.m. at the Foster House, 305 West Main St. in Cumming. Competitors should be there, with a healthy turtle, by 12:30 p.m. The owner of the turtle that finishes first will receive $50, while the second- and third-place finishers will earn their owners $25 and $20, respectively.

• Note: For complete coverage of the weekend’s activities, see the next edition of the Forsyth County News or visit


Weekend activities

For those who do not get their fill of fireworks tonight in Cumming, there are several options a short drive away this weekend.


• Dawson Day Sparks in the Park Independence Day Celebration, Dawsonville. Inflatable slides, dunk tank, rock wall, face painting, carnival food for sale and fireworks. Gates open at 5 p.m. Saturday; fireworks at dark, Rock Creek Park, 445 Martin Road, Dawsonville. Free admission and parking; various costs for activities and food.

• Independence Day Celebration, Dawsonville. Relay races, patriotic crafts and watermelon seed-spitting contest. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge, 418 Amicalola Falls Lodge Road, Dawsonville. $5 parking.

• July Fourth Mountain Style, Helen. Watermelon-eating contest, sack races, live music and a hoedown. 8 p.m. Saturday through 9 p.m. Sunday, Unicoi State Park and Lodge, 1788 Ga. 356 N, Helen. $5 parking.


• American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7 fireworks display, Gainesville. Day of activities capped off by fireworks at dusk. Gates open at noon Sunday, Laurel Park, 3100 Old Cleveland Highway, Gainesville. $5 parking per car; concessions available for sale.

• Fourth of July Family Celebration, Dahlonega. Pet show, ceremony, reading of the U.S. Constitution, watermelon cutting, car show, live music, parade and fireworks. Parade, 5 p.m.; fireworks at dusk Sunday, North Georgia College & State University, 82 College Circle, Dahlonega. Free.

• Mall of Georgia’s Fabulous Fourth, Buford. Live music, kids activities, fireworks and movie. 11 a.m. Sunday; live music from 2 to 9 p.m., fireworks at dark. Mall of Georgia, 3333 Buford Drive, Buford. Free.

— From staff reports


It just wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without fireworks and a parade.

And few towns, if any, celebrate it better than the city of Cumming.

Patriotism, family and tradition are the themes of every event Cumming sponsors, said longtime Mayor H. Ford Gravitt.

“It’s our heritage,” Gravitt said. “It’s a sense of being and sense of purpose to recognize that we have all these events and we’re free to do so.”

This year’s Fourth of July celebration will begin at 6 tonight with festivities at the Cumming Fairgrounds, followed by fireworks about 9:30 p.m.

As usual, the festivities will resume the next morning at 10 with the Thomas-Mashburn Steam Engine Parade.

The patriotic procession has been noisily making its way through the Cumming square for more than 50 years, Gravitt said, followed by local floats and groups.

The annual tradition began with Glenn Thomas, who drove his steam engine around the courthouse with a big American flag on the front to celebrate the holiday, Gravitt said.

And the weather is expected to cooperate throughout the weekend.

The forecast from the National Weather Service calls for sunny skies and daytime high temperatures near 90 degrees, with overnight lows in the 70s, and little chance of rain through Monday.