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June 30, 2007

Larger-than-usual crowd expected for fireworks show

The Fourth of July celebration at Smith Lake Park always draws large crowds, but event organizer Robbie Camp expects an even bigger turnout this year.

Because the firework show at Smith Lake Park is one of the few major firework displays in north Alabama, there’s usually around 6,000 people at the celebration every year.

But because of the recent ban on aerial fireworks due to the exceptional drought the state is experiencing, Smith Lake will be one of the only places people can watch fireworks in Cullman County this year.

A June 8 order by the state Fire Division of the Forestry Commission and state Fire Marshal Ed Paulk restricted the use of personal and commercial fireworks in 33 counties to over-water displays only. This restriction was eased on June 20 to allow ground level fireworks.

Because the next closest place to see a major firework display is at Point Mallard in Decatur, Camp believes there will be more people than usual at Smith Lake Park this year.

“We’re expecting a pretty good turnout this year,” Camp said. “There’s going to be a lot of different things going on at the park throughout the day, so it should be a pretty fun day.”

This year’s firework show is set to begin at 9 p.m. But according to Camp, the firework display isn’t the only worthwhile thing taking place on the holiday.

Starting at 11 a.m., there will be different local vendors set up at Smith Lake Park, along with live music throughout the day. Camp also said the swimming pool at the park will be open to anyone who comes through the gate.

“We’re going to start that morning, and try to have stuff for people to do until it’s time for the fireworks,” Camp said. “We’ve got a full day planned with lots of stuff to do. People usually start arriving at the park around 11 a.m., and they’ll continue to flow in until it’s time for the fireworks. It’s an all day festival. There will be people coming in from the water, and other people that just show up for the fireworks.”

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