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New fireworks venue a hit
FC41 BEST   From left  Faith Herman  7  Callie Herman  11  and Ella Herman  9.
fourth of july

Families, friends and neighbors turned out by the thousands to see the first fireworks show hosted by Atlanta Motorsports Park and the City of Dawsonville.

This is going to be really good, said Dawson County native Ray Padgett, 72, right before the fireworks show started. I was raised here right on the other side of Duck Thurmond Road, and this is just a great place.

Padgett was joined by family members Rodney Foulks, who came from Illinois, Noah Foulks from Dawsonville, Katlyn Foulks from McDonough, and Jackson and Samantha Vasquez.

I just came up to spend time with family and the fireworks were an added bonus, Noah said.

Jeremy Porter, owner of Atlanta Mororsports Park, said he was pleased with the turnout.

We had 3,860 cars on site and everyone got out in less than an hour, he said. Weve obviously never done fireworks before or had that many people here. I was really happy with how everything turned out.

There was something for almost everyone at the event, especially the children, who enjoyed inflatable bouncy houses, a kid-sized dunking bucket, a sand pit, snow cones, and funnel cakes.

This is really cool, Ella Herman, 9, said. Its July 4th and you get to do things with your family.

Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan said the key to success was getting locals to participate.

We were real pleased with the turnout, Grogan said. Its a family affair. We were excited a lot of local people really supported it. We wanted to get locals out to the Atlanta Motorsports Park and also to just enjoy a day of celebration and the freedom we have.

Next year, we hope to have music to go along with the fireworks.

Dawsonville native Chloe Thurmond, 6, sang the national anthem prior to the fireworks display.

Porter said AMP will host the event again next year.

Im a consummate improver, Porter said. Wed like to have more food vendors, arts and crafts, and do an invitation-only car show. Wed also like to have better scheduling so everybody knows whats up, and have a better bicycle parade for the kids like many neighborhoods have, and a big wheel race for adults. Those are some of the things were talking about. And we want to promote more next year.

There were no issues or problems we saw.

Porter said hed like to thank the Dawson County Sheriffs Office, the Downtown Development Authority, and especially Seanie Zappendorf.

The sheriffs deputies did a great job; theyre all such good guys. he said. And Seanie was really the number one person, along with my team members, Jeff Beal and Randy Jennings, and our main sponsors, State Bank and Gold Creek Foods.