If you're going
* What: Dawson Day Sparks in the Park
* When: July 3
* Where: Rock Creek Park
* Schedule: 5 p.m. vendors and activities open to the public; 6:30 p.m. live entertainment begins; 9:30 p.m. fireworks
The Dawson County Sheriff's Office has announced plans for trafficrelated issues that could affect travel around Rock Creek Park the night of July 3 for the annual Dawson Day Sparks in the Park festivities.
Beginning at 5 p.m., traffic entering the park will be reduced to a one way entering the park on Martin Road from Hwy. 9 and one way on Bannister Road leaving the park to Hwy. 9.
Crowds parking at designated areas such as Riverview Elementary and Middle schools or the River Park canoe launch are encouraged to take the shuttle service, which will continue until everyone has left the park.
Those parking in the open field on Bannister Road will only be able to exit right (south) on Hwy. 9 after the show. Signage will be posted to help route traffic toward Hwy. 53 and Ga. 400.
Those parking inside Rock Creek Park will only be able to exit left (north) on Hwy. 9 at the end of the fireworks show. Signs will direct traffic to the highways.
No vehicles will be allowed to enter the park once the fireworks show begins. Access will be denied until the traffic flow returns to normal. Expect delays until about 10:30 p.m.
If you plan to pick up someone at the park after the show, make arrangements to meet at the front entrance of the gym, where authorities will be posted.
No pedestrian traffic will be allowed on Hwy. 9 from Bannister Road to the entrance of Riverview Middle. Shuttles are provided and must be used.
The spirit of America is alive and well in Dawson County as preparations have begun for the annual Independence Day celebration July 3 at Rock Creek Park.
Now in its fifth year, Dawson Day Sparks in the Park promises to be one of north Georgia's most spectacular fireworks extravaganzas.
Activities for the entire family start at 5 p.m., followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
With a carnival-like atmosphere, activities include a dance contest, face painting, inflatable slides and a rock climbing wall.
Admission for the event is free, though children's activities, souvenirs and concessions are available for purchase.
Guests can expect to find a wide range of treats, including cotton candy, popcorn, boiled peanuts, hamburgers and barbecue.
While picnics are welcome, no alcohol is allowed on park grounds or outside parking areas.
Presented by the Dawson County Board of Commissioners and Dawson Community News, residents recognize the event as a family affair with something for everyone.
Commission Chairman Mike Berg said the county "really goes all out for Sparks in the Park."
"It's really a great event, and a labor of love for the county," he said. "Almost all of our employees get out to volunteer at the event ... and there are no county funds used to support it. The community makes this happens with donations."
The Dawson Community News has been the event's presenting sponsor each year.
"This is one of the most fun events we have here in Dawson County, and we are so happy to be able to play a role in providing such a fantastic time for our community," said Stephanie Griffin, editor.
One of the favorite activities is a dunk tank for local celebrities and officials.
There will also be live music by Kevin Woody of Dawsonville.
The highlight of the event is the fireworks display, which is set to start about 9:45 p.m. and last nearly 20 minutes.
Free parking is available at Rock Creek Park and adjacent lots, if weather permits. Handicap accessible parking will be on the park grounds.
Additional free parking can be found at River Park Canoe Launch and Riverview Elementary and Middle schools, with free shuttle service to and from the event.
Those not attending the event are encouraged to avoid the area from 5 to 11 p.m.