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July Fourth celebration at Mill Creek Regional Park
Kinder Cannon and daughter Maya Cottrill celebrate as Maya's bullfrog hopped away with a victory in the frog jumping contest during the 2012 Firecracker Festival at Mill Creek Regional Park. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/file

    Music, games and fireworks will highlight this year’s traditional Independence Day celebration at Mill Creek Regional Park in Statesboro on Thursday.
    The Statesboro-Bulloch County Parks and Recreation Department and Sea Island Bank will present the 2013 Firecracker Fest from 4-11 p.m.
    This free event will include several amusement games, music, and community exhibitions, as well as the traditional frog jumping contest, a Baseball/Softball Skills Contest and the Subway Sub Eating Contest. Since Mill Creek Park will be celebrating its 20th birthday on July 3, the parks and recreation department added several new events to the Firecracker Fest. Here are a few things on this year’s schedule: Family games, the traditional greased pole and a BMX show. Those planning to participate in the frog jumping contest should bring their own frog to Field 2. For the finale, Briggs and Stratton will sponsor the fireworks show, which will take place at 9 p.m. and is set to music.
    The music lineup this year includes two bands and one solo musician: Chyann Hoyle will have the main stage at 5 pm; the Wally Brown Band at 6 p.m. and Groove Eclectic will be the main band for the evening beginning at 7:30 pm.
Traffic plan
    The traffic plan for 2013 has been created for visitors’ safety with the expertise of local law enforcement and the Georgia State Patrol. It includes the following rules:
    Starting at 6:30 p.m., the back exit will be used as an exit only. Traffic will be stopped at the intersection of Brannen and Beasley roads, and only residents will be allowed to turn down Brannen Road.
    Starting at 8:45 p.m., no traffic will be allowed down East Main Street (Highway 24) from Veterans Memorial Parkway (301 Bypass) to the recycling center just past the main entrance to Mill Creek Regional Park. From 9:30 to 10:30 p.m., traffic will exit out of the main entrance of the park using both lanes. The right lane will be directed right or left onto Hwy 24; the left lane will be directed left onto Hwy. 24. Traffic exiting from residences and businesses across Hwy. 24 from Mill Creek Regional Park will only be allowed to turn right (west) onto Hwy 24. Both lanes of Hwy. 24 will go straight to the by-pass. The right lane of Hwy. 24 will be allowed to travel right onto the 301 Bypass or straight on Hwy. 24/East Main. The left lane of Hwy 24 will be directed left onto the 301 Bypass. 
Traffic exiting out of the back exit at Mill Creek Park will turn right onto Brannen Road and then left onto Beasley Road to Northside Drive East (Hwy. 80).
    Once all cars have exited from Mill Creek Regional Park, traffic from Mill Creek Elementary will be directed right onto Beasley Road to Hwy. 80. Traffic exiting from Bible Baptist, Trinity Church and Barnes Lumber will be directed right onto Hwy. 24 to the 301 Bypass for access to highways 80 and 301. 
    Exiting preference will be given to people parked in designated areas within Mill Creek Regional Park.
    The Firecracker Fest has been a Statesboro tradition for many years and has been sponsored by Sea Island Bank for over 15 years.
    “The Firecracker Fest is a great event for everyone in our community,” says 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.”
    This event could not be possible without the support of many sponsors and the community. Additional event sponsors include: Briggs and Stratton, Coca-Cola, Subway, McDonald’s, Allgood Pest Solutions, Alltel Wireless, Northland Communications, United Rentals, Blanchard Equipment, Statesboro Golf Carts, and Chick-fil-A.
    For more information on the 2013 Firecracker Fest, call (912) 764-5637 or go to

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