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An afternoon of 'Firecracker' fun
Annual celebration set for Monday at Mill Creek Park
070409 FIRECRACKER FEST 09
In this file photo from a previous celebration, Jahlek Tompkins, 12, left, and Nonterius Valentine, 14, get the fireworks started early during the annual Firecracker Festival, which will be held Monday at Mill Creek Park. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/file

If you can gulp down sub sandwiches, have an especially speedy pet frog, or just like fun, sports and music, the place to be this Independence Day is Mill Creek Park.
Monday, area residents will enjoy the traditional July Fourth Firecracker Fest celebration sponsored by the Statesboro-Bulloch County Parks and Recreation Department and Sea Island Bank. 
The festival begins at 4 p.m., with several family activities throughout the day, and ends with a bang with a fireworks display after dark. The event ends at 11 pm.
No admission – the day’s events are free to the public, said Broni Gainous, communications coordinator for
Statesboro-Bulloch County Parks and Recreation.
The day will be filled with several amusement games, a variety of music, and community exhibitions.
The traditional frog jumping contest will be held at 5:30 p.m. – it’s BYOF (bring your own frog) and will be held at Field 2, she said,
A baseball/softball skills contest begins at 6:30 p.m., and those with hearty appetites can try to see how many sub sandwiches they can swallow during the Subway Sub Eating Contest at 7 p.m.
 The highlight of the day, however, comes after the sun goes down. When the sky darkens enough, a spectacular fireworks display sponsored by Briggs and Stratton will take place around 9 p.m. and is set to music, she said.
A deejay will entertain the crowds from 4-8 p.m. and at 6 p.m., the School of Rock will perform on Field 1. “The 12-piece band ‘Pieces of Eight’ will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. and will have everyone up and dancing with their beach and party music,” Gainous said.
After the show is over, traffic will exit out of the main entrance using both lanes, she said. “The right lane will be directed right or left onto Highway 24. The left lane will be directed left only.”
Traffic exiting from residences or businesses across Highway 24 from the park will only be allowed to turn right (west) onto Ga. 24, she said. “Both lanes of highway   will go straight to the bypass.”
The right lane of Ga. 24 will be allowed to turn right onto the bypass (Veteran’s Memorial Parkway) or travel straight. The left lane will be directed onto the bypass. Those leaving through the park’s rear exit will turn right onto Brannen Road and then left onto Beasley Road to U.S. 80 East.
“The back entrance to Mill Creek will be used for exiting only,” she said. Once all cars have exited from the park, traffic from Mill Creek Elementary will be directed right, onto Beasley Road to U.S. 80 East.
 “The Firecracker Fest is a great event for everyone in our community,” said Mike Rollins, Director of SBCPRD. “We are excited to carry on this Statesboro tradition with the help of Sea Island Bank and our other generous sponsors.”
Other sponsors include Briggs and Stratton, Statesboro Kiwanis Club, Coca-Cola, Subway, Brodie International, American Wholesale Marine, McDonald’s, Allgood Pest Solutions, Alltel Wireless, Pittman Park Methodist Church, Holiday Inn, Georgia Eagle Broadcasting, Inc., and Chick-Fil-A.
Gainous said additional information can be found online at www.bullochrec.com or by calling (912) 764-5637.

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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