Turbulent weather meant that many 4th of July celebrations were hindered by intermittent showers, but the skies were all clear in time for the 4th annual Sparks in the Motorsports Park fireworks extravaganza last week.
Free parking and admission were the main draw for citizens who came out to the Atlanta Motorsports Park on Duck Thurmond Road for games, food, activities for kids and, the main event, fireworks.
Live music set the tone when vendors opened their shops at 6 p.m., peddling BBQ, shaved ice, ice cream, boiled peanuts, roasted corn and much more in addition to face painting, balloon animals, bouncy houses and other activities for kids.
Families set up early, towing blankets and chairs and carefully choosing their spot on the concrete next to the race tracks for the best possible view of the night sky.
Included was one family with two small girls in tow, Brinkley Duncan, 4, and Jemma Duncan, 14 months, who set up their chairs around 6:30 pm.
Grandmother Kathy Bennett said this was the family's third time attending the much-anticipated event.
"We're so excited," she said.
Other activities kept guests occupied while they waited for night to fall. Discounted go-karting was available to event goers and helicopter rides were also a popular attraction.
Entertaining kids and adults alike, BMX bikers performed a show where they flipped and jumped to an outpouring of applause, while Wayne's Trains gave rides to children dressed in matching red, white and blue outfits.
The City of Dawsonville Downtown Development Authority supplied $7,500 of the event cost.
Jeremy Porter, owner of the motorsports park and chairman of the DDA, said it cost more than $38,000 to host the event and that the turnout exceeded expectations, with thousands of people in attendance.
"Atlanta Motorsports Park was honored to [finance] a majority of this event to give back to the Dawson County residents," Porter said last week. "We will continue to evolve the event each year and make it even more enjoyable for all ages."
Porter also said that the inaugural adult big wheel race was a laughing success.
"Next year there will be a $500 prize for the winner, one teen driving school awarded to second place and three kart sessions awarded to third place for the adult big wheel race," Porter said. "We are looking to showcase some on-track action next year, details to follow."