The Fourth of July is fast approaching, and being right on Lake Lanier, Dawson County is a perfect place to grab some friends, fire up the grill and watch fireworks while celebrating Independence Day.
However, with continuing COVID-19 concerns surrounding large gatherings, the fireworks and Fourth of July celebration normally held by the City of Dawsonville has been canceled.
Though there aren’t any other public firework shows scheduled in Dawsonville, local residents still have several options to celebrate in surrounding counties.
Where to celebrate this year
Iron Mountain Park
What: Festivals and activities for all ages
When: Festival: Noon to 8 p.m. Fireworks: 8 to 10 p.m.
Where: 116 Iron Mountain Parkway Dahlonega, Georgia 30533
Cost: $20 for parking
Find out more: ironmountainresort.com
Downtown Dahlonega Celebration
What: Festival with live music, dog sports show, food and vendors
When: 11 a.m.- 8 p.m.
Where: 1 Public Square North Dahlonega, Georgia 30533
Find out more: (706) 864-6133
What: Fireworks Show
When: 9:30 p.m.
Where: 235 Castleberry Road Cumming, Georgia 30040
Find out more: cummingfair.squarespace.com
Thomas-Mashburn Steam Engine Parade
What: Local groups, businesses and organizations march through downtown Cumming
When: 10 a.m.
Where: Around Tribble Gap and Woodland Drive, Cumming
More info: cummingfair.squarespace.com
Margaritaville at Lanier Islands
What: A concert from Johnny Hayes & the Loveseats Band
When: Concert 7 to 10 p.m. Fireworks at 10 p.m.
Where: Lanier Islands Landshark Landing Stage; 7650 Lanier Islands Parkway in Buford
Cost: General Admission
Find out more: lanierislands.com
Where to buy your own fireworks
If you would like to remain quarantined for Fourth of July festivities, there are a few places in Dawson County and the surrounding area that are selling fireworks to consumers.
What: Usual year-round stock
Where: 98 Power Center Drive Dawsonville, Georgia 30534
When: 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
TNT Fireworks Storefront
What: Multiple brands and types of fireworks to choose from
Where: 2631 Freedom Parkway Cumming, Georgia 30041
When: Monday through Saturday 12 to 8 p.m.
TNT Fireworks Pop-up Shops
What: TNT storefront booths selling select fireworks
Where: Ingles Parking Lot and Walmart Parking Lot in Dawsonville
When: Through July 5th
How to stay safe while celebrating
Just because they sell it in the store, doesn’t mean just anyone should use it according to Dawsonville Fire Marshall and Division Chief Jeff Bailey.
Bailey said there’s nothing wrong with a few neighbors getting together and setting off some fireworks to celebrate events like the Fourth of July, but everything should be done in a safe and risk-free way.
“I like people having a good time,” Chief Bailey said. “We want everyone to have a good time and enjoy celebrating Independence Day. we just want to be sure they are educated and do it safely.”
According to Bailey, each year consumer-grade fireworks lead to an increase in local accidents, sometimes involving large scale property damage, and sometimes causing serious injuries to people, children and animals.
Fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2018 Fireworks Annual Report. Those fires caused five deaths, 46 injuries and $105 million in property damage.
The report also states that U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,100 people for fireworks-related injuries in 2018; half of those injuries were to the extremities and 34% were to the eye or other parts of the head.
To make matters worse, children younger than 15 years of age accounted for more than one-third (36%) of the estimated 2018 injuries,
Although dangers exist, Bailey said there are several ways to stay safe when setting off fireworks in your community.
Only sober adults wearing protective eyewear should handle fireworks. Never allow young children to handle fireworks, including sparklers and older children should only use under adult supervision
Never light fireworks in your hands, in a container indoors or around dry vegetation. Don’t point them at people or property. Only light one at a time and never try to relight a malfunctioning firework
Keep a hose or bucket of water close by to extinguish fireworks that don’t go off to avoid fires. Once done, soak all fireworks in water outside for several hours before throwing away in a metal container.
“Consumer-grade” does not mean safer. They actually result in more injuries and property damage
Sparklers can be incredibly dangerous. They burn up to 2,00 degrees Fahrenheit and can give people third-degree burns.
“I can give you all the statistics about injuries or property damage, but the best way to stay safe is to avoid setting off your own fireworks,” Chief Bailey said. “Grab some glow sticks or something else.”