Fireworks crackle and burst up above. The aroma of hamburgers and hot dogs circle around. American flags rise and wave – the country celebrates its 237 years of independence.
On Thursday, people from around the country will be celebrating this major U.S. milestone, and the CSRA is no exception.
In Aiken, there will be the July Fourth Celebration held at the Gaston Livery Stable starting at 4 p.m.
There will be several contests, food vendors, entertainment and more at the event, according to local businesswoman Jane Page Thompson.
A “patriotic display” will start up at 9 p.m., followed by a screening of “Finding Buck McHenry.”
“It's a feel-good family movie,” Thompson said.
This is the celebration's second year.
Parking will be available at the field at Beaufort Street and Richland Avenue.
“It's free and open to the public, so come have fun,” Thompson said. It will be like “an old-fashion picnic.”
People are allowed to bring in lawn chairs and coolers.
For more information, call Thompson at 803-215-8232.
The Village at Woodside will hold its Beach Blast event from 5 to 10 p.m. on Thursday.
There will be free food with a donation and activities for the kids.
Donations of $5 per car will be collected to benefit the Aiken-Augusta Wounded Warrior Charity Golf Classic.
For more information, call 803-617-0494.
The largest firework display in Augusta will take place in its downtown area. Leading up to it will be a mix of live entertainment, activities for kids and more.
The event kicks-off at 4 p.m. at the Augusta Commons, 836 Reynolds St.
The event is free and open to the public, according to the City of Augusta's website.
However, no pets or coolers are allowed.
For more information, call 706-821-1754.
On Wednesday, Fort Gordon will host its Independence Day Celebration with a carnival, live concert and food and craft vendors.
The event is open to the public, though people are asked to bring their picture IDs, vehicle registrations and proof of insurances.
The celebration runs from 3 to 11 p.m.
For more information, call 706-791-6779 or visit www.fortgordon.com
Columbia will hold its Freedom Fest event featuring rides, exhibits, a Mustang car show and live music from 5 to 9:30 p.m.
At the end of the festivities will be “the best fireworks show in the mid-state,” according to the City of Columbia's website.
The event is free and will be held at the Village at Sandhill, 495-5 Town Center Place.
For more information, call 803-699-5560.
A cannon salute to each state and territory and music will lead up to a firework show at the Torchlight Tattoo & Fireworks event at Hilton Field on the Fort Jackson Army Base. Gate 4 opens at 4 p.m.
Bleachers and grandstand seating will be available.
No pets, coolers, alcohol or personal fireworks are allowed.
For more information, call 803-751-6299.
However, you might want to spend some time at home, before going out.
Why not seize the spirit of the day to invite some friends over and fire up that grill?
A couple ideas for grilling: gas burns cleaner, however, charcoal grills are said to produce “tastier food.” Preheating the grill around 15 to 25 minutes ahead of time can help kill bacteria and using lean cuts of meat or squirting water on the grill can help prevent or tame unexpected flare-ups. Cover the finished product in foil and let it rest for around 10 minutes so the juices can redistribute.
The main dish can be accompanied by fresh produce and freshly baked desserts.
Buy a star-shaped cookie cutter, and push it into a watermelon to create a unique array of appetizers.
Take your favorite cake or pie, and arrange fruit or candy into an American flag shape on top. Think outside of the rectangle, and sprinkle the red- and blue-colored items on top as you see fit. When it comes down to it, all you need for a patriotic treat are those three traditional colors – red, white and blue.
Desserves bakery on Laurens Street baked shortbread cookies in the shape of stars and scattered red, white and blue sprinkles on top, according to employee Kenya Brown.
There's no limit to showing off your patriotic pride.
For more grilling tips, visit www.eatingwell.com.
Since cooking out is so popular, it has influenced crafting. At least, that is something Melissa Oremus, Bisquecuts & Glazy owner, has noticed.
Bisquecuts & Glazy allows customers to fuse glass or paint pottery.
When it comes to making patriotic-themed items, people have been creating mainly serving dishes and platters, Oremus said.
“People like to entertain on the Fourth,” she said. “Kids and parents have been coming in more, spending time together.”
One customer reproduced the American flag. She painted red circles around the plate's perimeter and blue in the center with white stars on top of it.
There are a variety of crafts to be made, pictures to be drawn and wreaths to be created to decorate for the Fourth.
Oremus suggests the website Pinterest as a start, but there is also the educational resource site Enchanted Learning.
For more information on Bisquecuts & Glazy, call 803-648-7772.
In the summer, movie theaters are often a hot spot, and the Fourth of July is no exception.
“Despicable Me 2” and “The Lone Ranger” are both opening on Wednesday.
Steve Carell stars as the reformed villain Gru in the sequel to Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment's 2010 animated movie “Despicable Me.” Gru is trying to raise a family now, but his former life can't seem to let go as the Anti-Villian League calls upon him to capture a masterful criminal.
Native American spirit warrior Tonto and masked ranger John Reid return as Disney takes on the classic “The Lone Ranger.” Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer are stepping up to take Tonto and Reid, respectively, back through an adventure fighting greed and corruption.
Pixar animated prequel “Monsters University,” Superman revival “Man of Steel” and end-of-the-world thrills “World War Z” and “This is the End” will all be in the theaters, too.
Regal Aiken Mall 8, 300 Northgate Circle, will be open on Thursday.
For more information, call 803-641-0900 or visit www.regmovies.com.
Fireworks are a Fourth of July tradition. People go see them or fire off their own.
Often sparklers, specialty items, fountains, fireworks big and small can be found.
And none of them really outsell the other, Trey Caines from Aiken's Wacky Waynes told the Aiken Standard last week.
Caine's co-worker Lee Eubanks did suggest a couple things.
• One: When shooting off fireworks like the multi-aerial ones, place sturdy blocks – cinder blocks for example – around them so they don't fall over.
• Two: Some fireworks need a pipe – such as a PVC pipe – to help them shoot straight in the air.
Fireworks are allowed to be sold in Georgia and South Carolina, according to the U.S. government's website.
Some other safety tips the site offers are have adults around small children while lighting fireworks; don't try to re-light or pick up a firework that's not ignited fully and don't throw or point fireworks at people.
Fireworks can be purchased at the Wacky Wayne's on Whiskey Road or on Plantation Drive in North Augusta.
For more information, call the Aiken location at 803-641-4909 or the North Augusta location at 803-279-1936.