Photo of the Day

Fireworks light up the night during Freedom on the River at the city landing in Demopolis.

Freedom On The River 2016

FOTR 2016

Large crowds enjoy great weather, entertainment, fireworks

Perfect weather combined with a weekend full of activities provided area residents an enjoyable July 4 weekend.

“I was extremely happy with the way everything went,” said Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Kennedy, referring to Friday’s Freedom on the River festivities followed by Saturday’s Highway 80 Songwriters Festival. “The weather was absolutely beautiful. We couldn’t have asked for a better July 4 as far as the temperature and skies were concerned. It was perfect.”

Lisa and the E-Lusion performed as part of Freedom on the River at the Demopolis City Landing.

Lisa and the E-Lusion performed as part of Freedom on the River at the Demopolis City Landing.

July 4’s barbecue cookoff – a mini-version of the state championship cookoff held each December in conjunction with Christmas on the River – along with children’s activities and the much-anticipated fireworks show all were well attended on Friday, according to Kennedy. “I’ve heard from multiple people that this was one of the larger crowds in recent years,” he said. “And the fireworks show was incredible. I also spoke to one of the food vendors Saturday morning who said he was consistently busy until the end. I think the vendors had a good night.”

For the second consecutive year, Demopolis hosted the Highway 80 Songwriters Festival Saturday evening, featuring songwriting talent from the region. “I think some of the changes from last year helped the event flow a little better,” Kennedy said. “It allowed us to feature some of the artists more than last year. This is definitely an event we can build on.”

The Songwriters Festival is sponsored jointly between Demopolis and Meridian, Miss., which will host a similar event in October.

“We hope everybody enjoyed this weekend,” Kennedy said. “We look forward to providing more great events for our community.”

State Farm issues Independence Day safety tips

Fireworks have been a part of holiday festivities for many years. While they certainly can add a thrill to any celebration, they can also be extremely dangerous and need to be handled safely and responsibility. According to a Consumer Product Safety Commission report, an estimated 9,600 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2011. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to leave them to the experts and watch from a safe distance. But if you’re going to do it yourself, you need to know how to keep yourself and your family safe. “Accidental fires and personal injuries are serious risks for those choosing to use fireworks in residential neighborhoods,” says State Farm spokesman Roszell Gadson. 
Before Lighting the Fuse
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area. Regulations vary widely, so check with the American Pyrotechnics Association’s directory of state laws.
  • Buy only from a licensed dealer. Make sure they are legal consumer fireworks labeled with the manufacturer’s name and directions.
  • Beware of unmarked fireworks. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has great information about spotting illegal explosives.
  • Store in a cool, dry place. Excessive heat and moisture can ruin them.
  • Do not carry them in your pocket; they could ignite from the friction.
  • Have a bucket of water ready. Use it to douse fireworks after they are spent. A garden hose or fire extinguisher may also come handy in case of a fire or other mishap.
  • Keep a first aid kit nearby. Use it for treatment of minor burns. Wear proper clothing. Eye and ear protection, cotton or denim clothing, long pants, and covered shoes are recommended.
Igniting Fireworks Properly
  • Use a hard, flat, and level surface. If you must use grass or gravel, lay down a strong piece of plywood as a shooting surface. Never shoot them off in a metal or glass container.
  • Ignite only in cleared areas. Point fireworks away from homes and keep away from brush, leaves, and flammable substances.
  • Never light anything if the wind is strong. A National Fire Protection Association report estimates fireworks started 15,500 fires in 2010.
  • Light one at a time. Read and follow label directions. Use a long-tipped lighter to keep your hands and face away from fuses. Quickly move back to a safe distance immediately after lighting the fuse. Never point or throw fireworks at another person. Keep spectators at least 75 feet away. If case of a mishap, no one should be near the firing area.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking. Do not use any substance that may impede your judgment or safety.
  • Douse with water when done. Use a bucket or garden hose before discarding spent fireworks.
  • Never pick up fireworks that have malfunctioned. Don’t hold fireworks in your hands. Having any part of your body over them while lighting can be also dangerous.
Keeping Kids Safe
  • Never let children play with fireworks. Even sparklers can be very dangerous because they can reach 1,800° Fahrenheit (982° Celsius). Supervise closely.
  • Make sure kids are a safe distance away and that they don’t pick up any pieces of used fireworks, which may be hot or still ignited and could explode at any time.
  • Seek medical attention if injured. Some mild first-degree burns can treated at home, but second and third-degree burns require immediate medical attention. WebMD has detailed instructions on treating burns in children.
  • Store in a safe place. All fireworks should be out of children’s reach and stored separately from matches. – See more at:

Scenes from Linden ChiLLy Fest Parade of Lights

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Participate in COTR nautical parade and fireworks show

Christmas on the River is inviting the public to take part in its featured event – Saturday night’s river parade and fireworks show.

COTR is seeking individuals to decorate and light their boats and join the official floats on the water on Saturday evening, Dec. 7. The 42nd annual nautical parade and fireworks show is scheduled from 6:00-8:30 p.m.

The best boat will receive a $500 prize, and other prizes will be given away as well.

To register, or for more information, call the Chamber of Commerce at 334-289-0270 or Elizabeth Etheridge at 334-289-6216. Other numbers are 334-216-1787 and 334-289-5919.

Updated: Demopolis set to celebrate Fourth of July

Updated: Portion of BBQ gate proceeds to assist Harrison medical expenses

Residents of Marengo and surrounding counties will once again have an opportunity to celebrate the Fourth of July in style, culminating with the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual fireworks show on the banks of the Tombigbee River tonight.Danny - IMG_7460

Freedom on the River festivities begin this afternoon with a new twist to the yearly celebration – a Local BBQ Cook-off at George “Pop” Franks Field near the Demopolis City Landing. Admission to the cook-off will be $5, with local cooks offering free samples. A portion of the gate proceeds will be donated to assist with the medical expenses for Amanda Harrison, a Westside Elementary School teacher who is battling encephalitis at UAB Hospital.

Various other food vendors and children’s activities are also slated for the afternoon’s activities.

The Children’s Patriotic Parade will be held at 6:30 (registration begins at 6 on the Civic Center grounds near the tennis courts). The parade will make its way from the Civic Center to the City Landing, with prizes awarded in three age groups.

The popular local band “Heart Attack” will perform once again at the City Landing, beginning at 7 p.m., with the always-popular fireworks show scheduled to start at 8:45.

Despite weather forecasts that include a chance of rain, the Chamber of Commerce has announced events will proceed as planned unless there is lightning in the area.

The West Alabama Watchman wishes its readers a safe and happy Independence Day!