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Independence Day celebrations planned

Thousands are expected to attend a local Independence Day celebration in Pike County hosted by Christ Chapel Sunday, July 1. The celebration will begin at 4 p.m. with the annual Fourth of July parade starting from the primary school and proceeding through downtown Zebulon. The parade, with the theme ‘˜We The People,’ is sponsored by Pike County Emergency Services and will lead everyone back to Chapelstock ‘“ a free community event featuring live bands and a fireworks show. According to Christ Chapel’s pastor Billy Smith, the event will include more than 50 food and craft vendors as well as free activities for kids, including bounce houses, inflatables with slides, a small petting zoo and a bungee trampoline ride. A first aid station and diaper changing station will be at the event. ’This is an opportunity for us to give back to the community and everybody is invited,’ said Smith. ‘We’ll have some live bands before the fireworks show, which is set to start at dark around 9:30 p.m. I think it’ll be a great night.’ Grammy-winning musicians Mac Powell and Jason Hoard of Third Day will take the stage during the event as well as local musicians who are part of RUSH Ministries and Pike County musicians who are part of the Christ Chapel church band. The lead singer and guitarist from Third Day are expected to draw hundreds of visitors from outside of Pike County and surrounding states. Because of the amount of traffic the event is expected to generate, the Department of Transportation agreed to install a temporary traffic light at the intersection of Old Zebulon Road and Highway 19, according to information discussed at a recent county commissioners meeting. Christ Chapel obtained approval to hold such the Independence Day event from the planning and zoning board of appeals June 21. Commissioners will make the final decision on the event at their Tuesday, June 26 meeting. Christ Chapel stepped up to host a local Independence Day event after the Parks and Recreation Authority’s Pride of Pike was cancelled due to Pike’s budgetary constraints. The church will spend around $27,000 hosting the event and fireworks show, which will be presented by the same company previously used at Pride of Pike. Parking is free and there is ample room for parking on the property where the event will be held off Old Zebulon Road. For information on Chapelstock, go to christchapelcommunitychurch.com or call 770-567-1141. The Fourth of July parade will start lining up at the primary school at 2:30 p.m. The parade with proceed north up Highway 19, go around the courthouse and return to Old Zebulon Road for the Chapelstock festivities. For information on Chapelstock, go to christchapelcommunitychurch.com or call 770-567-1141. The Fourth of July parade will start lining up at the primary school at 2:30 p.m. The parade will proceed north up Highway 19, go around the courthouse and return to Old Zebulon Road for the Chapelstock festivities. In addition to Chapelstock, several area events are on tap for the Fourth of July holiday, beginning with The Rock Ranch’s 13th annual patriotic event and fireworks show Celebrate America on Saturday, June 30. Gates open at 4 p.m. and close after the fireworks show around 10 p.m. ’We invite you and your family to come celebrate our freedoms as Americans and the heroes who fought and are still fighting to preserve those freedoms ‘“ to Celebrate America,’ said general manager Jeff Manley. This event, one of the ranch’s largest, features activities, a charity Rubber Duck Derby with a chance to win $1 million and live music for $25 per carload or $35 per busload. Zip-line rides are only $12 and $7 but all other attractions are included in the admission. The ranch has train rides, pony rides, zip lines, Tiny Town, paddle boats, live musical performances and many other attractions ‘“ plus one of the largest fireworks displays in the state. Stepping Stones Educational Therapy Center will be the recipient of proceeds from the 10th annual Duck Derby to be held at 6:30 p.m. Race proceeds benefit academic and therapy programs for children with special needs. The goal is $30,000. Ducks are $5 each, adopt one at duckrace.com/steppingstones, therockranch.com or at the event. Sponsorships are available. Prizes include a $1,000 gas card, flat screen TV, iPod Nano, Big Green Egg and Nest and Chick-fil-A sandwiches for a year. For information on the derby, call 770-229-5511. ’This event is a great value,’ said event coordinator Adam Pugh. ‘Families will enjoy The Rock Ranch attractions, a great show and have a chance to win prizes while helping a great charity.’ There will be a concert by recording artist Noah Cleveland and the patriotic program just before the fireworks will feature an appearance from a fighter pilot who was shot down and held captive as a prisoner of war in the Vietnam War. No outside food or drink and no pets are allowed. For information, contact The Rock Ranch at info@therockranch.com, therockranch.com or 706-647-6374. Rock Springs Church will hold its Fourth of July celebration, Celebrate Freedom, on Sunday, July 1, 5 p.m. with a concert by the Grammy award-winning Oak Ridge Boys followed by fireworks at dusk. Admission is free, thanks to sponsorships by Marathon and Jones Petro. In addition to the concert there will be games and food with an old-fashioned picnic planned. The High Falls/Towaliga Watershed Alliance will hold its annual Fourth of July Boat Parade on High Falls Lake on Wednesday, July 4, beginning at 10 a.m. at the state park swimming pool dock. Participants must pick up a judging number from the boat parade marshal’s boat at 9:30 a.m. and provide organizers with a cell phone number so the winners can be contacted for trophies that will be awarded for first, second and third place. Boats should be decorated with a patriotic Fourth of July theme. To see, parade attendees should go to the park office, dam wall or public swimming pool areas.

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