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Prime spots plentiful for fireworks show
Skies explode in showers of sparks over Cumming
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Forsyth County News

It's said anyone within city limits can see the fireworks explode over the Cumming fairgrounds. But every July 3, a group of seniors has a front row view.

Residents of the Cumming Nursing Center and Cumming Manor Assisted Living on Castleberry wait all year for the Fireworks After Dark July 4 event, said Candi Roderick, activities director for the manor.

"Even at their age, they still 'ooh' and 'ahh' at all the pretty colors," she said. "A lot of them go to bed early at night, but they stay up late for the fireworks... it brings out the kid in all of us."

The nursing home's front parking lot becomes a haven for walkers, wheelchairs and lawn chairs as dozens of residents and their families watch the annual fireworks display.

About 125 residents live in the nursing center, assisted living facility and Alzheimer's unit.

"A lot of the residents' families will come and bring a cooler with snacks and things. It's a big deal," Roderick said.
"We also bring them Popsicles. It gets hot sitting out there and that's a nice refreshing treat.

"They have a really good view because we're right down by the fairgrounds. It's like in the fall when they have the fair. They sit out there and see the Ferris wheel and bright lights. It gives them a lot to talk about."

While the seniors watch the fireworks display, tens of thousands of residents crowd local parking lots, the Cumming fairgrounds and other hot spots.

The organized fireworks show dates back 15 years, when Mary Helen McGruder organized the first fireworks display with the support of various local organizations.

The city and Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, continue the tradition, co-hosting the event.
The first fireworks event was held in the Lakeland Plaza, but has since been moved to the Cumming fairgrounds, where it has been held for more than a decade.

Over the years, McGruder has found lots of secret spots for optimal viewing.

"The best place is just right in town, of course, but another good place is the old Tri County Plaza up where the Publix is," she said.

"It's good because it's high so you can see, there's not a lot of traffic and it's got good access back to Ga. 400."

Another prime location, said McGruder, is at the intersection of Buford Dam Road and Hwy. 9, behind Movies 400.
At the corner of Tribble Gap Road and Hwy. 306, there is a baseball field, which has a clear view, she said. The parking lots at nearby Otwell Middle and Cumming Elementary schools will be open during the event.

For at least a decade, Joan Welty has taken her family to see the fireworks. Though her two children are now teenagers, they "now come with their friends and enjoy it."

"It's just a great event in the middle of the summer when there's not a lot else going on," she said. "They always do a great show."

Welty is the marketing team captain for Automation Direct, one of this year's sponsors. This is the company's first time sponsoring the event.

"A lot of people in the county know us from our big American flag that flies outside our building," she said. "I thought sponsoring the fireworks would be a great way to also show our appreciation for our country."

For people watching from the fairgrounds, Welty recommended those attending the event bring chairs or blankets, and while people are invited to bring their own food, she said the food vendors are great. "People need to sample a lot of the local food."