Thanks to Aiken resident Debra Oehlberg, fireworks will return to Aiken County for a grand Independence Day celebration next weekend.

By Debra Oehlberg

“Fred Cavanaugh, Aiken SC mayor, has maintained the beauty and spirit of Aiken that the former an equally popular mayor H. Odell Weeks has established. Our city wins awards. People love to visit. Lots of economic choices for all age brackets. Friendly and easy to navigate. We deserve a celebration! Bring it on!! Come see our beautiful landscape, horse statues, beautiful gardens and more!”

Red, White and You winning entry

The public is invited to a fireworks display on Saturday, June 28, at the Aiken Fairgrounds.

There will be no cost to enter the Fairgrounds or to park.

Gates will open at 3 p.m., and the 15- to 20-minute fireworks display is expected to start around 9:15 or 9:30 p.m.

In addition to the fireworks, the Fairgrounds will also offer carnival rides, games and a variety of food concessions for the entire family.

Oehlberg recently won the Red, White and You contest promoted by Destination America, USA Weekend and Atlantic Broadband to bring the fireworks to Aiken.

The festivities will be provided by Destination America, part of the Discovery Channel family of networks, and local cable provider Atlantic Broadband.

Launched back in March, the contest asked individuals nationwide to share stories about why their community deserved a Fourth of July celebration.

“I did this because I wanted to bring something great to Aiken,” Oehlberg said. “Not only that, but I wanted Aiken to be recognized. There are so many wonderful things to do here, and so many wonderful programs. Winning means a lot to me because I didn't expect anything out of this, as far as things for me go.”

Marc Etkind, general manager for Destination America, said in a press release that Destination America is honored to celebrate the country's birthday with the Aiken community.

“Fourth of July is a balance of remembrance with celebration, and we hope to encourage the spirit and tradition of the holiday in Aiken,” Etkind said.

At a recent Aiken City Council meeting, Council member Lessie Price recognized Oehlberg for taking the initiative and time to submit the entry.

“Debra took advantage of it (the contest),” Price said. “And certainly you made us a star in many eyes.”

The Aiken Fairgrounds are located at 561 May Royal Drive.

Maayan Schechter is the local government reporter with Aiken Standard. Follow her on Twitter @MaayanSchechter.