By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Festivities kick off with fireworks, dancing
Fireworks 9 es
Fireworks filled the sky above the Cumming Fairgrounds on Friday night as the Fourth of July weekend got under way. - photo by Emily Saunders

With each colorful burst in the sky, Brooks Malone, 2, let out a "whoa."

The bigger the fireworks, the louder the yell.

His younger brother, Brody, calmly sat nearby and took them all in quietly.

The Malone family sat across the street from the Cumming Fairgrounds on Friday night, watching the city's annual fireworks display.

Nearly every parking spot was taken. Lawn chairs filled the lots and sidewalks along Veterans Memorial Park as a crowd of thousands gathered for a good view of the show.

Dennis Johnson of south Forsyth arrived Thursday night with his RV to make sure he got his favorite spot at the fairgrounds.

The Johnson and Hoover families and their friends have been meeting up there for about five years to take in the city's festivities.

"It's just a family atmosphere here," he said. "You see your neighbors, people you know in town, people you know from church or Scouts."

The Johnsons planned to sleep in the RV after the fireworks and wake up early for the Thomas-Mashburn Steam Engine Parade, which rolls through town Saturday morning.

A dance contest followed the fireworks Friday night at the fairgrounds.

While waiting for the fireworks, the Johnsons and friends took in the sights and sounds of the midway.

Crowds bustled among vendors, politicians' tents and inflatable rides for children.

Hannah Little, 10, sat in a chair at a tent near the entrance. She was ready for her hair to match her skirt.

"Can I get just red?" she asked an employee at Razzberrie Dreamz, who sprayed the color into Little's blond hair.

Owner Amy Perdue said the business attends several events each year to give children festive colors.

Tonight, most were asking for red, white and blue, she said.

Many fireworks-goers adorned themselves in the nation's colors to enjoy the festival, but few managed to wear more than Claire Simpson.

"Miss Claire" donned a white hat with red and blue garland on her head down to her red and white striped socks covering her toes.

"I'm a big patriotic person," she said. "I love the American flag. Anytime I can represent it, I do."

The county resident, like many, watches the fireworks every year.

For Chase Hutchson, these fireworks were perhaps the first of which he wasn't scared.

"Fireworks," the 2-year-old yelled as he saw each colorful explosion.

"He's really excited," said his mother, Pam. "He's going to say 'fireworks' about 50 times before we leave."

While her son kept his head turned up toward the clear night sky, Pam Hutchson said she thought seeing his eyes full of wonderment was better than any fireworks.