Independence Day has many different meanings to many different people.
For Michael Tobias, the July 4th holiday stands for the sacrifice made by those who have fought for freedom.
"It means the sacrifice of a lot of soldiers, including my son Nicholas, who is here with me today," he said Saturday night as he gathered with his family to watch fireworks at Atlanta Motorsports Park in Dawsonville. "Just to be here with family alone, there is no describing it."
Lifelong Dawson County resident Matthew Smallwood lives a few miles from the park in western Dawson.
He and his wife Julie cuddled their young daughters as the family waited for the sparks in the sky to begin.
"Independence Day means that we can raise our children in the way we want them to be, and it just means a great country and basically, freedom to live the way you want to," he said. "We're here to watch the fireworks with my two beautiful daughters and it doesn't get better than that."
Now in its second year, Sparks in the Motorsports Park drew thousands of people to the country club for car enthusiasts despite the threat of showers throughout the day and evening.
But the showers held off for the festivities, which included activities for the family, food from various vendors, a motocross demonstration, a triathlon around the track and live musical performances by Peyton Porter, Casey Passmore and Scott Walker Band with special guest Barry Richmond.
Also new this year, parachuters glided onto the truck from above holding American flags to kick-off the fireworks extravaganza.