When it comes to Fourth of July fireworks, you have two choices this year — Ellerbe and Hamlet.
Each will offer food, games and nighttime explosions of color.
Festivities will begin at 2 p.m. at Lions Club Park on Cemetery Road. (Take U.S. 220 through town, then turn right the first block after the town’s one traffic light.)
Admission will be $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and younger, excepting toddlers and infants.
Here’s the schedule:
10 a.m. — Gates will open for picnickers. No alcohol will be allowed throughout the day.
2-4 p.m. — Children will be able to play games or run through sprinklers provided by the local fire department. They also will be encouraged to try to catch watermelons propelled by water from fire department hoses.
Both children and adults may try to scale stripped and slippery trees in the greasy-pole climb. Prize money will sit atop each pole — a short one for kids and a taller one for adults.
Food vendors and merchants will sell their wares, face painters will color little cheeks and noses, and a deejay will spin tunes throughout the afternoon.
4 p.m. — Local Scouts will raise the flag in an opening ceremony that will include the singing of the national anthem. Lions Club members then will name their citizen and Lion of the year.
4:15 p.m. — The gospel-singing Jacobs Family will perform. A local youth choir will sing, and karaoke will challenge others who like to carry a tune in public.
5 p.m. — The Old School Wrestling Alliance will entertain the crowd with body-slamming and a bit of rope-a-dope.
6:55 p.m. — The Lions will be holding drawing for the winners of a color television and two kayaks.
7 p.m. — Dark Horse will play Southern country till dusk.
Fireworks — “the largest in the county, hands down,” promises organizer Ken Lyerly — will begin when darkness falls.
The city of Hamlet will make its debut as organizer of the Fourth festivities, which will be spread throughout downtown, near the depot.
No admission will be charged, although food vendors will expect payment for their funnel cakes, candy apples and Kona ice.
The Hamlet Fire Department will provide a super soaker for kids and offer hamburgers, hotdogs, barbecue and nachos for sale.
Corn hole, a bean bag toss and sack race also will challenge participants’ dexterity.
Fireworks is the big draw — and if that’s all you want out of the Fourth, you probably won’t even need to leave the house. The sparklies will be shot off from the fairgrounds and be visible throughout most of the town. The schedule follows:
6-8:30 p.m. — Jonathan Robinson and Band will play country rock and blues on the porch of the visitors’ center.
6:15 p.m. — Kids may test their knowledge of trivia to win prizes.
7 p.m. — Adults will get their turn to give trivia a shot.
7:45 pm. — Those with a large appetite for watermelon — kids and adults — may compete to see who can gobble the most. Seed spitting is optional.
Fireworks will begin at dark. Those who want to highlight the night with their own sparklers may do so, but personal fireworks won’t be allowed.
“We’re really excited to take it over and try something new,” says Stephanie Thornsbury, depot manager and downtown coordinator. “We really hope everyone comes to enjoy the festivities and the food and the fireworks.”