Fireworks expected to draw crowd downtown Friday

Published 11:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2014

Vicksburg will kick off its Independence Day festivities with a literal bang Friday night for the city’s 39th annual Fourth of July event.

The celebration will feature a free concert immediately followed by a fireworks show that is expecting to draw large crowds to the downtown area over the weekend.

“It’s just a great community event,” special events coordinator Sue Bagby said. “Vicksburg has a lot of history and it’s just a great celebration to honor those that are in the military and celebrate the berth of this country.”

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The entertainment will begin with a performance by Dialogue, a Chicago tribute band based in Jackson, at 7 p.m. Shortly after the sun sets at about 9 p.m., the fireworks display will start.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. will emcee the program, which has attracted upwards of 10,000 people in past years.

The Old Court House Museum will also be selling hamburgers, hotdogs, snacks and drinks on the courthouse square to raise money for the museum, which does not receive any state or federal funding, curator Bubba Bolm said. Concessions are pm sa;e frp, 5 to 8 p.m.

“Last year was a success, and hopefully we can grow on it as time goes by,” Bolm said. “We’re counting on about 250 to 300 people this year.”

The courthouse grounds, where the Union army gathered after the Siege of Vicksburg, will also be open for spectators who want to watch the show from the Yazoo Diversion Canal.

Visitors who want to sit on the lawn are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets.

On July 4, 1863, Union Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant stood on what is now the back lawn of the Old Court House Museum and addressed his victorious troops on the street below.

“From this high bluff, you have a direct view of the fireworks,” Bolm said.

Those who want a high-rise view can make a $100 donation to the museum to watch the show from the roof of the historic building. The area is not handicap accessible and space is limited.

Because holiday  falls on a Friday, the city is expecting an even bigger crowd than previous years.

“Every year we have thousands of people that come down, and I really think because it’s on Friday, we’re probably going to have more than usual,” Bagby said. “It’s just a great event. It’s always well attended and fun. It’s just a lot of fun.”