For almost 12 hours, Romans celebrated American independence at Ridge Ferry Park a day before July 4 in a day (and night) full of waterslides, music and fireworks.

Alongside Wednesday’s events was a car show put on by the Armuchee Ruritan Club. The show usually runs alongside of the Roman Roast on the River, which was canceled this year, but show coordinator Richard Watson said it was a popular event for its first year.

“We did a lot better than I thought we’d do,” he said.

The 40 plus car show charged $25 per car and was free to the general public. Awards for the show were sponsored by O’Reilly Auto Parts and were handed out later in the evening.

Also at the festivities Wednesday for the first time was the Exchange Club of Rome with their Tomb of the Unknown Soldier replica.

The replica has been with the club for over two years and spends most of its time touring the country when it isn’t in Rome.

The tomb is an exact half-size replica of the original, Jim Belzer said. Arlington National Cemetery has actually authorized the tomb as the only certified replica in the nation, he added. The Exchange Club will have the tomb at the Coosa Valley Fair in October and information on its significance as well as its history.

Local Chuck Schmult carved the tomb, Belzer said, and did it all from five photos of the tomb provided by Arlington National Cemetery. Schmult has never been to the tomb in Virginia, but Belzer says the Exchange Club of Rome has arranged for him to go on July 11.

Family games kicked off at 5:30 p.m. and music continued through the evening until fireworks began after 9 p.m.

For those who missed the fireworks Wednesday night there will be fireworks following the Rome Braves game July 4. The Braves will take on the Asheville Tourists at 7 p.m. at State Mutual Stadium and will conclude the night with their own display.

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