City of Vidalia looking for Fourth of July event sponsors

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 31, 2005

VIDALIA &045;&045; A day-long celebration with old-fashioned games and patriotic music capped off by what may be the area’s largest fireworks display in years is in the works for July 4 this year.

And it’s not too late for area businesses to join as sponsors for the Olde Tyme July Fourth Celebration, which will take place on the Vidalia riverfront. All of the events will be free.

&uot;This is something we felt like everyone in the community could enjoy,&uot; Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland said. &uot;I think it’s probably going to be one of the biggest events we’ve had in a while.&uot;

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Copeland encouraged people to bring their families to the event. He emphasized that the event is not just for Vidalia but for the entire Miss-Lou.

A committee has been working on the event for the past nine months. Last year, Vidalia planted a seed for the idea with a small July 4 event, with a community choir that sang patriotic songs at the riverfront amphitheater before the annual fireworks display.

This year, that community celebration has grown. The activities will start out on the south end of the riverfront, with games, vendors and music all day, beginning at 9 a.m.

Food vendors will be on hand all day. Alcohol is not permitted at the riverfront.

The day is packed with events.

At 9:30, a black hawk helicopter will land near the site, and tours will be offered all day long.

Vidalia city departments have challenged their area counterparts to various games &045;&045; such as the fire department’s tug of war and the police department’s tricycle races.

Other games will give children a chance to participate.

Events will also include a fashion show, karaoke, gospel music, horseshoes, space jumps and a car show by the River City Bad Boys.

At 5:30 p.m., a parade of law enforcement, military officials, scout troops and others will help move the crowd toward the amphitheater.

There, a color guard will present the flag and local recruits will be sworn into military service.

Then the band Escape will play at 6:15, followed by the St. Joseph Orchestra playing patriotic music.

At 9 p.m., a fireworks display will light up the sky.

This year, sponsor Isle of Capri has been helped by the cities of Natchez and Vidalia and United Mississippi Bank to fund what Copeland said may be the area’s largest fireworks display.

&uot;By the end of the day we promise you’ll be tired, but you’ll have a big smile on your face,&uot; volunteer Grace Woods said.

Sponsorships are available at a variety of levels, said city employee Kathy Martin, who has helped organize the event.

Patriotic sponsors, at $1,500, will help sponsor the orchestra.

Star-spangled banner sponsors, at $1,000, help sponsor the day-long performances at the smaller Riverfront Stage.

Red, white and blue sponsors, at $500, sponsor the parade, and supporter sponsors, at $250, sponsor one competitive event.

Business names will be listed according to sponsorship at the entrance to the celebration, Martin said.

A number of volunteers have helped throughout the past several months to put the celebration together, Copeland said. In addition to Martin and Woods, economic development director Teresa Dennis and marketing director Glen McGlothin have been working on the project. John Dayton helped secure the orchestra to play, and Sgt. Tim Mize has organized the military involvement, including the helicopter visit.