Fireworks abound for Fourth of July celebrations

By HASKEL BURNS,

With the Fourth of July less than a week away, Petal and Hattiesburg residents will have an abundance of choices for Independence Day fireworks.

Officials from Petal and Hattiesburg are teaming up for the inaugural Coca-Cola Star-Spangled Celebration on the River, hosted by the Petal Chamber of Commerce, Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association and the Forrest County Board of Supervisors. The event will be held from 5-10 p.m. July 3, with fireworks scheduled for 9 p.m. Petal will hold its celebration at Petal River Park, while Hattiesburg’s will be on the opposite side of the Leaf River at Chain Park.

“We wanted to do something that would be mutually beneficial for both our communities – for Hattiesburg and Petal, and for our associations,” said Valerie Wilson, executive director of the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce. “But mainly, we just wanted to have a very first-class, family-friendly event that would draw visitors to our area.” In addition to the free fireworks show, both sides of the river will feature music, food and drink vendors, and inflatable jumps for the kids. Concessions include funnel cakes, rib-eye steak sandwiches, snow cones, pizza and nachos, as well as offerings from Chik-fil-A. Officials event T-shirts and tank tops also will be available for purchase on both sides.

Because of a Petal ordinance that prohibits alcohol on city-owned property, alcohol will be sold and allowed only on the Chain Park side of the celebration.

“If you want to make sure your kids and your family are not around alcohol, and nobody’s going to be drinking around them, then the Petal side’s where to go,” Wilson said. “For those people that want to drink beer, they can go to the Hattiesburg side and not have to drag coolers around and things like that.”

Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets, but tents, personal fireworks, pets and glass are not allowed. 

Parking will be available on the Petal side of the river at the old fairgrounds location for $5 per vehicle, cash only. Hub City Transit will provide shuttles to both parks from designated parking areas.

“We are looking forward to celebrating America’s birthday at this brand-new event in the beautiful Chain Park in downtown Hattiesburg,” said Andrea Saffle, executive director at the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association. “We invite families and groups of all sizes and ages to join us for this patriotic summer tradition and expect it to become another signature event for our community on both sides of the river for years to come.”

The music lineup for the Petal side is as follows:

·     5 p.m.: Charles Carter
·     6 p.m.: Mississippi Moonlight
·     7 p.m.: Wes Lee
·     8 p.m.: The Lanna Wakeland Band

The vendor list for the Petal side is as follows:

·     The Petal Area Chamber of Commerce: Event T-shirts and tank tops, glow sticks and batons
·     Central Sunbelt Credit Union: ATM machines
·     Chick-fil-A
·     Coca-Cola: Beverages
·     Country Kettle & Skins: Kettle corn and pork skins
·     Domino’s: Pizza
·     Grand Bank
·     Holy Temple of Faith Baptist Church: Fried fish, smoked turkey legs
·     Initiative 62: Political
·     Jojo’s Italian Ice
·     Maxem Health Urgent Care: First aid
·     Party Box Rentals: Inflatables
·     Kona Ice: Snow cones and ice cream
·     Sawadee: Thai cuisine
·     Smokin’ King: BBQ and smoked meats, sandwiches and plate dinners
·     Southern Lace: Merchandise
·     T&J Concessions: Chicken on a stick, funnel cakes, cowboy nachos, polish sausage, pulled pork
·     The First
·     Vaughn for Justice Court

The music lineup for the Hattiesburg side is as follows:

·     5:15-6:15 p.m.: Royal Horses
·     6:30-7:15 p.m.: Sugarmouth
·     7:30-9 p.m.: Pinebelt Pickers

The vendor lineup for the Hattiesburg side is as follows:
·     Southern Beverage: Beer
·     Stokes Distributing: Beer
·     National Guard: Games and activities
·     Party Box Rentals: Kids jump/bounces
·     Central Sunbelt Credit Union: ATM
·     Coca-Cola: Beverages
·     Sheila Smallwood: Political
·     The First: Information
·     Chick-fil-A
·     Ebenezer Baptist Church: Hot dogs, sausage dogs, chicken on a stick, french fries
·     Holy Temple of Faith Baptist Church: Wings, burger, hot dogs, funnel cake, boiled peanuts
·     Initiative 62: Political
·     Kona Ice: Snow cones, ice cream
·     La Mexicana: Tacos, nachos, tamales
·     Maxem Health Urgent Care: First aid
·     Mercury Pizza: Pizza
·     Southern Stars Facepainting: Facepainting
·     Sully’s Tavern: To be determined
·     The Grubb Hut: Chicken on a stick, blooming onion, fried green tomatoes, funnel cake, fried Oreos
·     Yasmine Bryan: Nachos, hot dogs, pickles, candy
·     Country Kettle Corns & Skins: Pork skins, caramel corn, kettle corn
·     Domino’s: Pizza
·     Pam Luckie Castle: Political
·     Patrick Kincaide: Watermelon

But the fun doesn’t stop with the Star-Spangled Celebration on the River. Other organizations also are putting on fireworks shows, including:

·     Paul B. Johnson State Park, 319 Geiger Lake Road in Hattiesburg. Fireworks will start at 9 p.m. July 4. Entrance fee for the event is $6 per vehicle (up to six people). For more information, call the park at (601) 582-7721 or email paulbjohnsonstatepark@mdwfp.state.ms.us.
·     Little Black Creek Campground and Park, 2159 Little Black Creek in Lumberton. Fireworks start at dark on June 30 and July 4. Starting at mid-day, bounce houses, food vendors and family activities will be offered.
·     Community Bank, 202 West Jessamine in Ellisville. The bank will host its annual Light Up the Night fireworks show from 6-9 p.m. June 28. The event will offer fireworks, snow cones and entertainment from Hurricane Munn and the Forecasters.
·     Temple Baptist Church, 5220 Old Highway 11 in Hattiesburg. The church will host its 18thannual Celebrate America event on July 1. “Pray for America” begins at 10:30 a.m., followed by “Picnic and Fireworks” at 6:30 p.m. Hot dogs or hamburgers with chips and drink will be available for $5, and an inflatable kid’s game area will be open from 6:30 p.m. until dark.