This weekend was the Star Spangled Classic, Athens’ official Independence Day celebration.
As reported in The Athens Banner-Herald, the family-friendly event Saturday included inflatable play spaces, rides and other children’s activities.
The Funk Brotherhood band also performed on a portable stage in front of City Hall.
Several downtown streets were closed for the event at different times, and traffic was rerouted in some areas.
Streets bordering a four-block area around City Hall were closed at 10 a.m. College Square and portions of Hickory, Dougherty and Thomas streets near the launch site were closed from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.
The annual fireworks display began around 9:30 p.m.
Unlike last year, the Classic Center deck served as the launching point this year.
This was the third year for the event in downtown Athens after many years of moving around, and some years in which there was no Star Spangled Classic.
For several years, the show was at Bishop Park, but in 2008, a recession hit, and the Athens-Clarke government cut its funding.
In 2016, the city decided to have the Star Spangled Classic in downtown for the first time. It was estimated that 15,000 people came that year. Last year, rain hurt attendance numbers, but there were still fireworks. This year had a decent crowd, despite reports of 60 percent chance of thunderstorms.
For those who missed the fireworks, there will be another firework show July 4 at the Epps Bridge Centre shopping complex. Those who attend are asked not to bring pets, alcohol, tobacco products or personal fireworks. Parking on sidewalks and in the new Hobby Lobby shopping center is prohibited.
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