GARNER — About 20,000 people had been expected to attend the July 3 celebration at Lake Benson Park, the towns annual Independence Day extravaganza of food, music and fireworks. Now that celebration will occur July 5 because of Wednesday's expected storms.
This year, the town has something extra special to celebrate: its recent All-America City Award.
During the mayors portion of the ceremony, he will say a few words about our victory, and we will have many of the delegates on stage, said Rick Mercier, Garners public information officer.
Garner won the All-America City title in Colorado last month by highlighting the towns community-outreach efforts, the grassroots campaign to build a veterans memorial in Lake Benson Park and a program to involve children in the arts.
A group of young people choreographed a dance routine and performed it when we marched into Denver. About five or six of them who are involved in Garner Town Players and the summer theater camp will perform the dance for the crowd at the celebration, said Town Manager Hardin Watkins.
The dance group will perform alongside Garner native and Miss North Carolina Arlie Honeycutt, who wrote the lyrics to a song titled Great Things Grown in Garner for the All-America City competition.
Another new thing is that the veterans memorial is dedicated and open, Watkins said. It is lit at night, of course, so that will be fun and interesting for people who have not seen it yet. The memorial is a pretty impressive site at night.
Forecasts Wednesday project thunderstorms for much of the day, particularly in the morning and afternoon. Friday evening could also see some scattered showers, but in much more sporadic fashion.
Guests are welcome to bring coolers and beach umbrellas, but no tents, alcoholic beverages or fireworks, including sparklers, are permitted.
Limited parking is available at Lake Benson Park. Guests are encouraged to ride free shuttles that will run every 15 to 20 minutes from 5 to 11 p.m. Shuttles are available from Bryan Farm at 1832 New Bethel Church Road.
More than 150 full- and part-time staffers from Garners parks, police and public works departments will help out with the event. The town also will have 15 resident volunteers, working mostly in the crafts section and kids adventure zone.
The town typically does not get a large number of volunteers because people in Garner attend the celebration with their families, officials said.
The move could alter the entertainment lineup and schedule; the town is working on improvising and finalizing Friday's plans.