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Food, family tops for holiday time
Rusty Turner
Rusty Turner

The Fourth of July means different things to different people.

For some, spending the long holiday weekend at home watching television is appealing, while for others the time is better spent cooking out or lighting fireworks.

A recent sampling of residents and visitors revealed a mix of plans for the Fourth of July weekend.

Rusty Turner, who lives in Lumpkin County but works at Radio Shack in Cumming, said he planned to attend his family's annual July Fourth family reunion.

"We get together at a park in Alpharetta," Turner said. "We go swimming and we play baseball, stuff like that. We probably do more than most folks."

James and Sheila Rutledge said they were going to be "basically doing nothing."

Earlier in the weekend, the couple had spent time at Vann's Tavern Park on Lake Lanier, adding they would "maybe watch some movies and take it easy" the rest of the time.

Matt Taylor, 17, got an early start to the holiday weekend, relaxing on the beach at Buford Dam, also on Lanier.
Taylor, visiting from California, said he was going to spend the rest of the Fourth weekend "hanging out by the lake" with his family.

Randolph Thrower, a five-year resident of Cumming, said his family was going to "stay in town."

"We actually have some friends in Acworth that live right on [Lake Allatoona], and they have a big fireworks display on the lake.”

 Lawrenceville's Bob Shaw said he would spend time with family over the weekend.

"We've got some family members coming down from Maine and we're going to cookout around the house, and we may go down to Lake Oconee for a little while."

But, Shaw said, they won't see any fireworks, as they want to stay away from traffic.

"We have some fireworks and a little 5-year-old, and she's going to love playing with the fireworks."

Melissa Chihlas, 20, of Forsyth County said she would be tubing on the Chattahoochee River.

"We're just going to go tubing and probably go to a cookout, do fireworks and party,” she said.

As far as fireworks: "We're going to get some from the tent and shoot them off. Our other friends went to South Carolina [where a wider selection of fireworks is legal] and they're bringing back fireworks, too."

Mother and son Lynn and Ben Peterson, both of Acworth, also had big weekend plans.

Ben Peterson planned to check out Stone Mountain over the holiday weekend.

"I'm going to Stone Mountain, staying up here at the lake and probably going to the beach," Ben Peterson said. "We will go to Red Top Mountain (on Lake Allatoona near Cartersville) to see the fireworks."

Lynn Peterson, however, was going to spend the Fourth relaxing on the Lake Lanier.

"I'm staying up here with my sister, Kay McCullough," she said. "We'll probably sit out on her balcony and watch the boats and the fireworks."

Katie Sizemore, 23, who has lived in Forsyth since she was 5, said the weekend would find her at Shoal Creek Campground.

"I got one of the last places on the lake. We're not getting a boat, though, because of the [Department of Natural Resources]. We know they have enough on their plate."

Sizemore settled on Shoal Creek because "there wasn't anything left in Forsyth County. Every single camping spot is full on Lake Lanier.”

Sizemore said she and her family would cook out and watch the fireworks display at Lake Lanier Islands.
Leanne Temple and Julie Wear both live in Forsyth County.

"Lots of parties and fireworks," Temple said of their plans. "It's pretty much what we do every weekend. We're closing the store just for the event."

The women own The Nurturing Nook in the Kroger shopping center off Ga. 400 at Exit 17.

"I'm going to be lying nude by the pool," Temple added of their plans to visit Paradise Valley, a clothing-optional resort in Dawson County.

Wear concurred: "I'm pretty much doing the same thing," she said.

Robert Shepard, an Oakwood resident, works with Turner at Radio Shack.

Shepard said he planned to take his 10-year-old daughter to see Friday's 51st annual Thomas-Mashburn Steam Engine Parade in Cumming.

"She's excited about it," Shepard said. "It's the first time we've been."

Staff Writer Frank Reddy contributed to this report.