The fireworks are sponsored by the Athens Parks Foundation Inc. through a generous donation from Comcast and will be operated by Pyro Shows of Lafollette.
Pyro Shows is internationally known for Knoxville’s Boomsday as well as the Washington, D.C., fireworks display and participation in the NFL Super Bowl festivities along with many other major events. The fireworks soundtrack can be heard on WJSQ/WLAR 101.7 FM, 94.9 FM AND 1450 AM beginning at 9:30 p.m. Following the display, live traffic reports will be broadcast.
“The city of Athens is very fortunate to be able to have Comcast as our fireworks sponsor once again for 2012. Thanks to Comcast, the Athens July 4 Fireworks show has become one of the most anticipated events in the area each year,” said Austin Fesmire, director of Parks and Recreation.
“We have often said that Athens tilts a little on July 4 because just about everyone in McMinn County and from the surrounding areas gathers on the western side of Athens to watch fireworks. From our vantage point on top of the hill it is amazing to see the enormous amount of people and cars lined up to watch the show.
“Of course, everyone has their own special place they like to watch from, however, I always try to tell people that just once they need to experience the show from inside the park because the intensity of the shells from that close is just unbelievable,” said Fesmire.
Prior to the fireworks, around 8 p.m., the Athens Parks Foundation Inc. will sponsor the second annual July 4 Rubber Duck Race. Some 1,000 ducks will be made available for adoption at $5 each. First place will receive $500 cash, second place $100, third place $75, fourth place $50 and fifth place $25.
The race will be held in Mouse Creek on the western side of the Regional Park. Winners will be announced during the live radio broadcast from the park. Beginning Monday, June 25, through July 3 ducks may be purchased in person at the Parks and Recreation office located in the Athens Municipal Building at 815 North Jackson St., at Athens Federal Savings and Loan, Southeast Bank and Trust, Domino’s Pizza, Professional Jewelers, and the Athens Farmers Market.
On July 4, prior to the race, ducks may be purchased at the concession stand at Regional Park. Ducks are available only while they last. All proceeds benefit the programs and facilities of the Athens Parks and Recreation Department.
“Last year we learned a lot about duck racing,” said Fesmire.
“Mouse Creek turned out to be a great place for a duck race and with the improvements we are making to the creek it will be even better this year and in the future. This is a wonderful opportunity for citizens to assist the foundation as they raise funds to benefit the park system and several people are going to leave the park very happy they adopted ducks,” said Fesmire.
Activities for the 4th also include a remote controlled plane demonstration on Softball Field 2 by the McMinn County Radio Control Association as well as the ever popular Shoney’s Pie Eating Contest which will be held at 8:45 p.m. on Field 1.
Other small games will be set up around the plaza of the baseball/softball complex for those in the park waiting on the fireworks.
The best place to view the fireworks is from inside the park; however, the fireworks can be seen from the surrounding area. The loop road at the park will be a one-way street on July 4 and there will be areas on the eastern side of the park marked as no-parking areas due to the fireworks safety zone.
Additionally, no vehicles will be allowed to enter the park after 9:20 p.m. for fireworks safety reasons. After the fireworks, Decatur Pike will be tapered to one lane in front of the park so that those inside the park may be given priority on exiting.