Fireworks draw huge crowd, additional events well attended

Posted September 4, 2013 at 1:35 pm


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What many are calling the best fireworks show ever held in Albany was enjoyed by a huge crowd of spectators at the Mountian View Recreation Park as well as from the Clinton County Middle School parking lot and all along the U.S. 127 Albany Bypass.

The show, which was coordinated by the Albany – Clinton County Chamber of Commerce, was provided by a host of sponsors from the area who teamed together to once again provide funding for the weekend entertainment.

Originally slated for the July 4 holiday, the event was postponed due to thunderstorms that moved through the area. The success of this past weekend’s show and accompanying events, have organizers thinking about making the fireworks show a permanent Labor Day centerpiece.

Also held in conjunction with the fireworks show was a Gospel Singing event that featured two local groups, Joyful Hearts and Lifetime Guarantee from Central Grove Baptist Church, shown performing in the photo below.

In the bottom photo, a group of onlookers enjoy some of the 26 vehicles that were on display througout the day Saturday in the antique and custom car show that was also a part of the Labor Day celebration.

Organizers are hoping to continue to not only hold the Labor Day lineup as an annual event for Albany and Clinton County, but to be able to continually build on the schedule in future years.

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As the old saying goes, “the show must go on.” Despite the heat of the day and some heavy rains at night on Saturday, August 31, the events–including the fireworks display–at Mountain View Park went smoothly and had some coming away saying this year’s fireworks show was the best so far.

This year, the Albany/Clinton County Chamber of Commerce teamed with the Rec/Park Board to put on the show at Moutntain View, which drew another large crowd despite the rains and threat of thunder storms that prevailed throughout the evening and nighttime hours.

Albany/Clinton County Chamber of Commerce President Willard Johnson was pleased with the outcome and wants to try and have the event to celebrate future Labor Day weekends.

“We feel the fireworks was a success, despite the storm. There were lots of people who showed up and it was a good time to have it,” Johnson said. “It’s the last holiday of the summer season and we like to celebrate the summer before everything closes down along the lakes.”

Also included in the day’s events was a car show that began at mid-morning and gospel music that started at 5 p.m. in the evening.

The activities were also a fundraiser for the park board in its attempt to gain funding for playground equipment. The funds raised came from voluntary donations from people who patronized the park on Saturday, as well as the sale of food.

Park Director Bobby Reneau said on Monday that around $1,200 was raised to be earmarked for the playground, bringing the total amount raised thusfar to around $2,000 total. Although he said the park board would have liked to have done better, both spectator-wise for the day events and amount of money raised, he was still pleased overall with the event with it being a pilot project.

“It wasn’t as big as we wanted it to be, but there were people coming in and out (of the park) all day and especially for the fireworks,” said Reneau.

He estimated there was between 25-30 cars and trucks that showed, along with one motorcycle and one tractor, also a little less than anticipated. “After the trophies were awarded around 1 p.m., the crowd went down somewhat until around the time of the gospel singing,” he said, adding that it was a very hot day and coupled with the ever-present threat of rain and storms, played a part in keeping the crowd down.

The gospel singing went well until the rains came about 6:30 to 7 p.m., about mid-way through the singing.

Due to the rain, the entire CCHS Band did not perform, however, enough band members were sent to perform the National Anthem prior to the fireworks show and the high school JROTC did perform prior to the show that began around 9 p.m.

“There was a crowd in the park and I was told the middle school parking lot was about full (during the fireworks),” Reneau said.

“I think it was the best fireworks show locally that I have ever seen,” he said, continuing that other people had made similar remarks.

“It was a learning experience and we hope to do better in the years ahead,” Reneau added.

Meanwhile, some fundraisers for the playground equipment will be held before cold weather sets in, including a scheduled softball tournament on September 14 and the 21st Century youth soccer program will also begin at the park next week with concession sale proceeds benefitting the playground fund.

“The chamber would like to thank Jay Garner and the park board… they got involved and did a really good job getting everybody to come out,” Johnson said.

Other than viewing the fireworks from the park, Johnson said using the Clinton County Middle School parking lot was key in allowing more people to view the display.

“It allowed people to come to the park that might have never been to the park and it shows them what kind of facilities we have,” Johnson said. “Another good thing was we were able to utilize the middle school and it was a good viewing area for the fireworks.”

In the upcoming months, Johnson said the chamber will work on next year’s event and as of right now, they plan on having the event during the Labor Day weekend.

On behalf of the park board and chamber, the park director also thanked everyone–especially all the fireworks show sponsors–who had a part in any way in making the event a success while at the same time helping raise money for the children’s playground.