A scene from the last Independence Day celebration, held in 2019. COVID forced a cancellation, but the Lions Club says everything is set to return to action this year.
The Jasper Lions Club this week announced the return of their annual Fourth of July celebration, which like all other big events was cancelled last year due to COVID.
“We are so excited to be hosting the 4th of July festivities,” said Jasper Lions President Leslie Miller. “We missed it so much in 2020, and being able to bring our decades-long tradition back feels like a big step forward to things getting back to ‘normal.’”
The local civic group has hosted Fourth of July festivities since 1939, barring one year during WWII and in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to bring the event back in 2021 was made a couple of weeks ago, and the Lions are going full steam ahead to get prepared.
“After the governor lifted restrictions and we spoke with the city we started coming up with our plan,” Miller said.
At the Jasper City Council meeting on May 3, Miller discussed new plans that will split the Lions’ July 4 festivities over a two-day period. Council and officials gave the tweaked schedule a thumbs up, with manager Brandon Douglas calling it “a signature event for the city.”
All the popular elements will be back – from the parade to fireworks to the fair – but they will be in a slightly different lineup. The Peachtree Rides fair will be at Lee Newton Park beginning Thursday, July 1 and run through Sunday, July 4. The parade will be on Saturday, July 3 and there will also be entertainment throughout the day on Saturday at Lee Newton Park. This year the parade will begin at 1 p.m. instead of the usual 10 a.m.
“We wanted to change that time so that the end of the parade is closer to time when the rides will open at the park, and event will be going on,” Miller said.
BINGO is back again that Saturday, and it and other entertainment will begin directly after the parade. BINGO will be in the Pickens Chamber of Commerce building and entertainment and vendors at Lee Newton Park.
Fireworks will be set off the following day, on Sunday, July 4.
“We were trying to change that to Saturday, but after things were cancelled last year we were booked again for the 4th this year with the company, and we can’t get that changed. But we’re going to make things work and we think it will work out very well,” Miller said.
The headlining act High Ridge Band will also perform on Sunday in hopes of drawing a crowd before the fireworks display, which will be set off from their regular location and visible from the downtown Jasper area. The band starts at 6 p.m. at Lee Newton Park stage.
The raffle drawing will be on July 4 as usual at 10 p.m. just before the fireworks. This year’s raffle will be for cash prizes: 1st - $1,000; 2nd - $500; and 3rd - $250. Tickets can be purchased on festival grounds beginning the Thursday when Peachtree Rides opens. They will also be available from Lions members beginning in the next week or so.