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Weather provides extra show
Despite storm, crowds say fireworks worth wait
As people began filling the area around the fairgrounds Tuesday night, a storm could be seen moving in from the west. - photo by Jim Dean

What's next

* Parade begins at 10 a.m.

* Tradition steams on. Go behind the scenes with steam engine operators.


For complete coverage of the 55thannual Thomas-Mashburn Steam Engine Parade, go online at or see the next edition of the Forsyth County News.

For nearly three hours, two families waited for the Cumming fireworks show on Tuesday night.

Wearing a poncho and huddled under an umbrella, Heather Donahue hoped “a big display” would make it all worth it.

Eric Vega flashed a huge smile and said the “quality time” spent with friends made it a great night already, provoking Donahue.

She started to tease back, but the bright flash of the first burst made the parents silent and the four girls with them began to “ooh” and “ahh.”

The group was among the remaining crowd rewarded when the fireworks started on schedule at 9:30 p.m., though the thunderstorm that arrived in the area about 7 p.m. rolled on.

Fairgrounds Director Dave Horton had a simple explanation for launching the show despite the rain.

“I’d rather pay for them and see them than pay for them and not see them,” Horton said. “It went well.

“I’d say the majority of the shells went off. There was a couple shells we had to leave off, just a few mortars that were full of water that we had to put the shells in.”

The storm wasn’t the worst he’d seen on a fireworks night, though this one started later than any in the past.

Horton said as the rain hit, people took cover in their cars or in buildings at the fairgrounds, and some packed up and left.

“I hate that the rain hit when it did, just from the standpoint of the vendors and so on. That would have been their prime time,” he said.

Tony DiCarlo, working at the Lion’s Club booth, said most people waited about 30 minutes before a large group of cars drove off.

Before the storm hit, it was one of the busiest nights he’d seen.

“We were three deep here and then all of the sudden the heavens opened up,” he said.

A large group packed in the red barn by his booth, like Brandy Shoemake, who said she’d arrived with her family about 7 p.m. and spent most of their time waiting there.

Son Anderson, 4, said it took “forever” for the fireworks to start.

His sister Abby, 7, smiled and cheered through the whole show after the long wait.

“They were awesome,” she said.

Rainy weather was not expected to be a factor Wednesday morning, when the 55thannual Thomas-Mashburn Steam Engine Parade was scheduled to roll through downtown Cumming.