Once again, local residents and visitors alike can look forward to the annual Fourth of July program hosted by the Haralson County Veterans Association at League Lowe Memorial Park; however, this year, the Veterans Association has something special planned for the thousands expected to turn out for the festivities in Tallapoosa.
“This year, instead of having a guest speaker, we’ll have the ‘Parade of Soldiers,’” said Haralson County Veterans Association President Sammy Robinson.
The change in programing will be in honor of the 20th anniversary of League Lowe Memorial Park, which was dedicated on July 4, 1992.
“We will have four presenters, who will each do a segment covering five years and share the activities of the Haralson County Veterans Association during those five years,” Robinson said.
The presenters will be Tommy Patterson, Tommy Allen, Brenda Robinson and Rich Stafford. In between each of their segments, members of the Veterans Association will perform demonstrations or enactments, such as the 13 Folds of the Flag, explaining the meaning in each fold, and the Salute to the Fallen Soldier.
“We will also once again have the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Changing of the Guard for everyone to see,” Robinson said.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a complete replica of the original in Washington, D.C., Robinson said. It was made by Blairsville, Ga., resident Larry Martel, who donated it to the Haralson County Veterans Association.
“It was a very popular display, so we wanted to bring it back this year for the anniversary of the park,” Robinson said.
While the Veterans Association’s program begins at 10 a.m. and is expected to last roughly 1 hour, celebrators will have plenty of activities to attend throughout the day as the annual Fourth of July parade, sponsored by the City of Tallapoosa, will begin at 1 p.m.
The parade route will begin at Highway 78 and Providence Church Road then follow Hwy. 78, Head Avenue and Highway 100, ending at the Tallapoosa Recreation ball fields on Broad Street.
After the parade, event-goers can ready themselves for an afternoon of fun at Helton Howland Park, where the gates will open at 3 p.m.
“We’re going to have watermelon cutting and corn boiling, like always,” said Tallapoosa Mayor William “Pete” Bridges during a recent City Council meeting. “It’s going to be a big event, and we invite everyone to come out and enjoy it.”
There will also be games, activities and music at the park until sunset, after which the city-sponsored fireworks will be shot over the lake for the enjoyment of the crowd. Robinson says estimates put last year’s crowd between 6,000 and 8,000 strong.
“It is absolutely a big draw,” Robinson said. “And the city does a great job helping put this project on. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of people to put these things together.”
Robinson said he hopes as many people as possible can come out and reap the benefits of the five months of planning that went into this year’s events.
“It’s going to be a great program,” he said.