Statesboro and Bulloch County’s annual celebration of Independence Day comes a day early this year.
Firecracker Fest, sponsored by the Statesboro Bulloch County Parks and Recreation Department, will be held at Mill Creek Park on Saturday, July 3 this year, rather than on Sunday, the Fourth of July.
The event begins at 4 p.m. with family-friendly games, inflatables, a frog jumping contest and a Subway sandwich eating contest. Of course, there will be lots of music, and fireworks after dark. It will end at 11 p.m. All of the activities are free, other than concessions.
Also, Splash in the Boro is open until 8 p.m. on Saturday.
“We had a great turnout last year,” said Broni Gainous, communications coordinator for the Parks and Recreation Department. “And we hope to have a lot of people again this year.”
While games and contests take place on other fields, both Statesboro Karate and ATA Blackbelt Academy students will participate in community exhibitions, as a deejay provides music.
New to the Firecracker Fest this year is the Statesboro Idol Finals, Gainous said. Georgia Eagle Media held preliminaries recently and the final seven contestants will compete for the title at 5:30 p.m.
The 12-piece South Carolina band Pieces of Eight will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. playing until 11 p.m., stopping only for the fireworks show at 9 p.m.
The fireworks will be “close proximity,” Gainous said, meaning they would only be visible inside the park or in areas near the park.
To alleviate some of the pressure from heavy traffic after the event, a new traffic plan has been devised with the help of local law enforcement and the Georgia Highway Patrol, Gainous said. In the past traffic was directed out of Mill Creek Park using both lanes between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. after the event.
The new plan will prevent traffic from traveling eastbound on Highway 24 to enter Mill Creek Park after 8:45 p.m. and the park's back entrance will be used as an exit only after 6:30 p.m. As with the old plan, traffic will still be directed out of the park using both lanes of Highway 24 between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.