The whistle and cracks of firecrackers will once again resound through Rock Creek Park on Tuesday night as Dawson County celebrates Independence Day.
In its fourth year, Dawson Day Sparks in the Park is set to begin at 5 p.m. with activities for the entire family.
With a carnival-like atmosphere, activities include a dance contest, face painting, inflatables and a rock climbing wall. Admission is free.
"Sparks in the Park is an annual event where the community can come together for fellowship and fun," said Cindy Campbell, Dawson County's chief financial officer.
"There are many activities to enjoy throughout the day culminating with a grand fireworks display that is one of the best in the area."
Last year the event drew a record crowd of 6,000, according to officials.
One of the event favorites was a dunk tank for local celebrities and officials.
Guests can expect to find a wide range of concessions, ranging from cotton candy and popcorn to boiled peanuts and barbecue.
While picnics are welcome, though no alcohol is allowed on park grounds or outside parking areas.
Presented by the Dawson County Board of Commissioners and Dawson Community News, the event is a family affair that offers something for everyone.
"We are very proud to sponsor and be a part of such a wonderful family event for Dawson County," said Stephanie Griffin, editor of the Dawson Community News.
The highlight of the event is the fireworks display, which is set for about 9:45 p.m. and lasts nearly 20 minutes.
Children's activities, souvenirs and concessions are available for purchase.
Free parking is available at Rock Creek Park and on lots adjacent to the park, if weather permits. Handicap accessible parking will be on the park grounds.
Additional free parking is available at River Park Canoe Launch, Riverview Middle School and Riverview Elementary School, 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.
The Dawson County Sheriff's Office has announced plans for traffic-related issues that could affect travel in and around Rock Creek Park the evening of July 3 for the annual Dawson Day Sparks in the park festivities:
• Beginning at 5 p.m., traffic entering Rock Creek Park will be reduced to a one-way on Martin Road going into the park from Hwy. 9 and one-way on Bannister Road leaving the park to Hwy. 9.
• Attendees are encouraged to take the shuttles provided to and from designated parking areas away from Rock Creek such as Riverview Middle and Riverview Elementary schools or the River Park canoe launch. The shuttle service will continue until all persons have cleared the park area.
• Persons parking in the open field off of Bannister Road will only be able to exit right (south) on Hwy. 9 at the end of the fireworks show. Signs will be posted to help route motorists toward Hwy. 53 and Ga. 400.
• Persons 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 be posted to help route motorists toward Hwy. 53 and Ga. 400.
• No vehicles will be allowed to enter Rock Creek Park once the fireworks show begins. Access to Rock Creek will be denied until the traffic flow returns to normal. Expect delays until about 10:30 p.m.
• Individuals planning to pick up attendees after the fireworks show should plan to meet them at the front entrance of the gym, where a uniformed sheriff's office employee will be posted.
• No pedestrian traffic is allowed on Hwy. 9 from Bannister Road to the entrance of Riverview Middle School. Shuttles are provided and must be used.