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Fun-filled 4th of July weekend on tap

CONYERS -- Local residents will have plenty of options this holiday weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July, including taking in a concert or enjoying some good summertime food. Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.

Here's a rundown of local patriotic celebrations:

Saturday

The city of Covington and private sponsors are joining forces to host "Saturday in the Park," a music festival in downtown Covington. The event will take place from 5-9 p.m. on Saturday, July 3.

Two stages will be set up downtown for uninterrupted performances by a variety of musicians, most of them local, according to Mike Whatley, who serves on the City Council and is one of the event organizers.

Performers to be featured include Biggers Family Band, The Church at Covington Praise Team, Hannah Thomas, Blue Maxx, Thomas Tillman and The All-Star Band.

The city of Rutledge in Morgan County will hold the 9th Annual Sunflower Farm Festival, set for July 3 and 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The festival will take place at the West-Holt family farm at 1430 Durden Road off Interstate 20, exit 105.

Each year, between 7,000 and 9,000 people attend the festival to take in the beauty of the 21-acre West-Holt family sunflower field, peruse arts and crafts booths and enjoy food and entertainment.

Living Way Worship Center, located south of Livingston Elementary School at 4051 Ga. Highway 81 S., will host FreedomFest with music from Builders None and B-SHOC. The event runs from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m., Saturday, and includes children's activities. Barbecue plates will be available for sale.

In Social Circle, Berean Baptist Church at 20 Old Social Circle Road, will host a Christian concert and ice cream social at 7 p.m., Saturday, featuring the group, "The Old Paths."

Also, the city of Social Circle's holiday celebration will take place at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, with a parade through downtown featuring local politicians, floats, marching bands, motorcycles, soldiers from the Monroe National Guard Unit and the Monroe Police Department.

The parade will end at the Social Circle Football Field with a gospel concert featuring the Georgia Army National Guard Band. Fireworks will take place at dark.

Sunday

A variety of events will be taking place Sunday, July 4.

Residents can enjoy a free barbecue outdoor lunch hosted by the American Legion, Post 77, in Conyers. Lunch begins at noon Sunday, at the post's headquarters, 674 American Legion Road.

Porterdale will hold its annual Fourth of July Celebration downtown, beginning at 3 p.m. The event will include food, games, vendors and fireworks at dark.

Conyers' Fabulous Fourth celebration and fireworks show will be held from 5 to 10 p.m., Sunday at the Georgia International Horse Park. Rides, displays, vendors and entertainment are planned for the event.

In Covington, the Newton County Community Band will perform patriotic music in a concert on the Historic Courthouse Square in downtown Covington. The music starts at 5 p.m., Sunday.

Conyers' Crossroads United Methodist Church, at 2460 Ga. Highway 138 N., plants to host fireworks and a cookout on the church lawn beginning at 7 p.m., Sunday. Family activities, including patriotic karaoke, are planned for the event.

Social Circle will host a car show in downtown from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sunday. There will be free inflatables for kids to enjoy, as well as music and food vendors.

Monday

It has become a local tradition, and the city of Oxford won't disappoint this year. On Monday, July 5, the city, along with the Oxford Lions Club, will host its annual Fourth of July Parade and Celebration.

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. and follow the usual route, beginning at Haygood Avenue and ending at Old Church. It will feature floats, motorized vehicles, bicycles and more.

Following the parade, there will be music and concessions at Old Church. The Oxford Lions Club will provide free popcorn and watermelon. At noon, Mayor Jerry Roseberry will hand out awards for the best parade entries and recognize parade co-grand marshals, the Rev. Thomas and Emmie Johnson.