Dawsonville's annual Independence Day celebration revved into gear Friday at Atlanta Motorsports Park with a fireworks display that wowed spectators for miles around.
"It was awesome, best finale ever," said Shalena Samples, who attended the inaugural event with her son, parents and extended family.
According to organizers, the July Fourth festivities drew an estimated 5,000 people in its first year at the private track in western Dawson County.
Pam and Scott Blevins were among the many drawn to the event by the mystery of the 2-mile track.
"We were planning on going to Dahlonega and then he saw online they were having fireworks here," she said. "The track is really what drew him here."
Her husband said he's wanted to take a tour of the track since it opened in 2011. He was not disappointed.
"Oh, it's great," he said. "I didn't know there were so many different things that they did here. The karting and it's open to the public."
Jason Baird drove up from Cumming with his young son, Hudson, to check out the track and maybe see a couple of the exotic cars that frequent the country club for auto enthusiasts.
"Who could turn this down, especially from a guy's perspective," he said.
Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan said he was pleased with the turnout and the positive spotlight the event placed on the city.
"To put together that event in a month, it was fantastic," he said. "It was done very well and I really see bigger and better things out of it next year.
"It was a great event, it was well attended and the show was excellent."
Presented by the Dawsonville Downtown Development Authority, Sparks in the Motorsports Park is expected to become an annual affair.
"I thought it was an incredible event. We really appreciate those that stepped up and took that to the next level," said City Councilman Chris Gaines. "I think that shows that, as a city, we care about the citizens and things that are beneficial to them.
"It was a great event for the city and the residents, all around."