July 4th Festivities Celebrate America’s History

Community, Union County Chamber
July 4th

Blairsville, Ga – Fireworks, Revolutionary Soldiers, football, and music represented a fun-filled July 4th for everyone in Blairsville.

Union County hosted a variety of events for Independence Day, kicking off at Vogel State Day for a day of American fun from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Festivities included pedal boat races, bicycle parade, sandcastle competition, sack racing, and a watermelon eating contest.

Meeks Park and North Georgia Technical College hosted the Chamber of Commerce’s sponsored fireworks show. The large crowd began turned up around 6:30 p.m., but the majority didn’t arrive until closer to dusk. Still, the sides of Hwy. 515 were lined with cars ready to watch this year’s display.

Chamber President Steve Rowe reported they sold over 300 tickets for the fireworks show and almost sold out of t-shirts. Five food vendors partnered with Chamber of Commerce to provide food including Chick-fil-a, Kona Ice, and Hey Man Kettle Corn.

Hey Man Kettle Corn served up their product to the fireworks crowd.

Perhaps, the most special part of the whole fireworks event was the ability to bring 15 local nursing home residents to the show. They had previously expressed an interest in attending the July 4th celebration, and Chamber hired a bus from to bring residents over to North Georgia Tech for the show.

Kathie McMillan won the tailgaters package raffle sold leading up to and during the event. The $10 raffle helped to make the fireworks display possible. McMillan won a Kayak, gas grill, Yeti cooler, tent, fit bit, Yeti tumbler, umbrella, and two folding chairs.

East Coast Pyro made the entire show possible by providing the fireworks for another year.

Union County Sheriff’s Office was exceptional in getting everyone home safely.

First United Methodist Church (FUMC) provided a variety of entertainment before the Meeks Park Fireworks show kicked off. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., the church’s praise band, Overflow, performed American standards like “America the Beautiful,” “Star-Spangled Banner,” and classic rock hits.

Sons of the American Revolution, in period dress, taught the crowd about Revolutionary Soldiers and colonial life in the 1700s. They brought period toys, muskets, and flags, and set up a colonial campsite for kids to play around.

Sons of the American Revolution instructed onlookers about colonial life and revolutionary warfare.

Boy Scouts of America Troup 101 sold BBQ and FUMC’s Youth Group sold drinks. The church also had a flag football game going for kids who wanted to play.

Girl Scout Troup 11365 led a Flag Retirement Ceremony at 7:30 p.m. with the praise band playing after until dusk.

Over in Suches, the small town also held a Fireworks show for residents behind Woody Gap School thanks to the Suches Fire Department at Station 5. It started at 5:30 p.m., full of family fun and food. In case you didn’t know, the Suches show originated with locals shooting bottle rockets at the general store.

Independence Day celebrations wrap up on Saturday, July 6th with a boat parade at Lake Nottely. Starting at 12 p.m., boats will make a lap through the cove by Hwy. 129 and judging will follow.

2019 Night to Shine – A night unlike any other


Shine Like the Stars in the Universe

There is one night a year when stars above look down in awe. Friday, February 8, 2019, was that special night.

Excitement filled the air as paparazzi and crowds gathered for the red carpet event hosted by First United Methodist Church of Union County (FUMC) in Blairsville. Honored guests from Fannin, Gilmer, and Union counties in Georgia and Cherokee County, SC, would soon arrive.

On this “Night to Shine”, 108 Kings and Queens in their finest attire were escorted through the cheering crowd by students from Young Harris College, volunteers from FUMC, and from the community. Just the beginning of a very special evening for memories to last a lifetime.

The royal guests were delighted to be pampered by hairdressers or to have their shoes shined before heading off on a thrilling ride in a stretch limousine. Then it was time for dancing, what many attendees had been looking forward to and so they danced the night away.

As the evening came to a close each King and Queen received a gift bag along with a t-shirt commemorating the event.

Former NFL quarterback, Heisman winner, and current New York Mets outfielder, Tim Tebows’ Night to Shine is now in its 5th year. According to the Tim Tebow Foundation website, this special night’s history began in 2014 with a simple vision, “work with churches around the country to provide an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love for people with special needs, ages 14 and older.”

In 2015, the first Night to Shine was held with help from 15,000 volunteers among 44 participating churches in 26 states and 3 countries to make 7,000 honored guests feel like royalty. In 2019 the event now has over 600 churches from around the world to make a memorable event for an estimated 100,000 Kings and Queens with the help of 200,000 volunteers!

This is the second year First United Methodist Church of Union County hosted the event.

Information about sponsoring a 2020 attendee, volunteering or the mission of Tim Tebow foundation can be found online: www.timtebowfoundation.org

Churches wishing to join in the “worldwide movement celebrating God’s love for people with special needs and the value of life” can find more information about hosting, fundraising and financial grants on the website.

Giggles, laughter and smiling faces beaming with pure joy were, without question no match for the heavenly stars on this “Night to Shine”.

Shine Like the Stars in the Universe
Linda Strickland on the Red Carpet
Jonathan Waters and Michelle Queen
Annette Freer on the Red Carpet
Rick Cruse and escort on the Red Carpet
Party Room
The stage is all set!
Kristell Hannah
Sonny Thomas and Shelby Bittenbinder
Amanda King wears her tiara proudly
Kari Castlen with her tiara
Rena Nelson
Eric Morris and Bailey Whitener
At 9 p.m., balloons fell on the Kings and Queens of Night To Shine ending the evenings festivities.
Gini Bell, Fannin County Special Olympics Co-ordinator

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