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Leading the Cave Spring July 4 Parade walkers in 2018 are Dr. Bethany Jackson (from left), her husband, Dr. Chas Jackson, his brother Dr. Cline Jackson and his wife, Jessica Jackson.

This Saturday’s Independence Day events will include parades in Cave Spring and downtown Rome and will finish with a grand fireworks show on top of Jackson Hill.

Cave Spring’s 35th annual Independence Day Parade will start bright and early at 9 a.m. Organizer Christa Jackson said line up will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 8:45 a.m. Anyone is welcome to participate in the parade as long as they show up during this time. Walkers will gather in front of Joe Hill’s Lawnmower Shop at the Old Depot on Alabama Street and wheeled vehicles will line up on Perry Farm Road.

“People are just so excited to get out and celebrate America with their families,” Jackson said.

She compared the parade to old Norman Rockwell paintings, with antique cars, wagons, and horses. Usually the parade has about 500 participants, but Jackson doubts that will be the case this year.

The best place to watch the parade will be in the Town Square and along Alabama Street. Families and groups must remain six feet apart from each other and masks are highly recommended.

Rolater Park and pool will also be open that day, as well as Local Joe’s restaurant and A&B Creekside Restaurant, Jackson said.

The Cave Spring fireworks are delayed until Aug. 29, since the city council decided there wouldn’t be enough room to properly maintain social distances recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Later, at 2 p.m., the Independence Day Celebration and Citizens Parade is planned at the Rome-Floyd County Law Enforcement Center on Fifth Avenue in Rome.

Organizer Dr. David McKalip said the event will begin and end in prayer for the nation. There will also be static displays of fallen veterans at the event as well as replicas of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Emancipation Proclamation.

“The event will be entirely positive and will only celebrate what unifies us as a people and the principles and social structures that help Americans strive for the common good,” McKalip said.

The parade will start on Fifth Avenue and travel down Broad Street to Second Avenue, then loop back to the Law Enforcement Center. There will be a small number of motorized vehicles and floats in the parade, such as classic cars and classic Army trucks carrying veterans.

The event will conclude with a reading of the Declaration of Independence following the final prayer.

Once it gets dark, Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation will start their fireworks show at around 9:50 p.m. Zambelli Fireworks, which is nationally recognized for its stunning displays around the country, created a 20-minute show featuring 2,000 firework shells in different shapes and colors.

Parks and Rec Director Todd Wofford said the best place to watch the fireworks is “wherever you can see the flagpole on Jackson Hill.” Ridge Ferry Park will be closed to vehicle traffic this year, but foot traffic will be allowed in the south side of the park. Local radio station Q102 will offer a soundtrack radio broadcast that will time with the fireworks display.

If rain occurs, they will shoot off the fireworks at the next available window, Wofford said.

The parking lot of the Rome Civic Center will be closed due to proximity to Jackson Hill. The trails on Jackson Hill will also be closed.

Parking information for Downtown Rome can be found online at https://downtownromega.us/parking/.

The Rome Braves will offer a great viewing location from the parking lots surrounding State Mutual Stadium for $10 cash per carload. Lots open at 7 p.m. There will be limited concessions available on the front plaza along with a 20% discount to any shoppers in the team store. For more information, go to www.romebraves.com.

When parking, be sure to use public lots, Wofford said.

In past years, some motorists stopped on the road or on the side of the road during the show, which causes traffic problems and is a safety issue. RFPR asks drivers to refrain from stopping in the road and find a safe location off of the roadway to park and watch the show.

Fireworks safety

While Georgia law says you can set off fireworks anywhere from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., there’s an expansion on July 3 and 4 — to 11:59 p.m.

Fire Marshal Mary Catherine Chewning encourages people to be alert and watchful of wind and weather conditions when setting off fireworks. Fireworks should not be discharged directly over houses or structures; keep a fire extinguisher or a water hose nearby when setting off fireworks.

Chewning also cautions people to be mindful of neighbors with PTSD and those with animals, small and large, that are terrified of fireworks.

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