CUMMING — Cumming kicked off its Independence Day activities Friday night with a bang, or several of them.
Thousands of people gathered at and around the Cumming Fairgrounds to watch the city’s annual fireworks display. The celebration brought out folks all of all ages to watch one of the only fireworks displays in the region held annually on July 3.
Leslie Bearden came with the youth group and other members of Mount Pisgah Baptist Church. She said the group comes each year to watch the fireworks and prepare for the Thomas-Mashburn Steam Engine Parade on Saturday.
“This kind of a yearly thing,” Bearden said. “A bunch of us bring our campers and we get together and we blow up beach balls for the parade, because that’s what we throw out every year [in the parade]. It’s just a fun night with our youth group.”
Bearden said the group has grown from just a few people to more than 50 over the years.
“This is at least our third year, if not our fourth, that we’ve been doing this,” she said. “It’s grown every year. The first year, there were like two campers, and then our friends in another camper came and now we’ve kind of got the whole church involved.”
Others, such as Pam Zuber, attended with relatives. Zuber said she and her family are lifelong Forsyth County residents who have been coming “as long as they’ve had fireworks.”
“We’ve been tailgating and we let the children ride on the rides,” she said. “We’ve just been people watching.”
The event also drew folks from elsewhere. Linda Hemphill, who lives in neighboring Cherokee County, brought family from Alpharetta and Washington, D.C.
“I love the fact that Cumming always does it on [July 3], I just love that and this is just such a nice family event. I think it’s great,” Hemphill said. “It seems like there’s less cramming it in on the Fourth of July, when everybody else is doing [fireworks]. You get to see it a couple different times.
“It just seems like this is more of a laidback atmosphere. The fireworks are always nicer. I love the old-fashioned feel of this celebration.”