By Hollie Deese
When Gallatin’s fireworks celebration was abruptly cancelled back in 2011 because the vendor hired to do the display was a no-show, it was hard to come back from the blow that did to the community’s perspective of the annual Fourth of July celebration.
But, come back it has thanks in no small part to James Gill, director of the Sumner County Food Bank. The year before Gill took over the celebration there were just five booths. Last year, his first in charge, there were 40. This year he anticipates more than 50, in addition to the sponsorships he has been able to get. “Last year we had between 7,000 and 8,000 people,” Gills says. “This year we’re anticipating 10,000 to 12,000.”
A resident of Gallatin for thirty-two years, Gill says this is the type of event that is needed in the area to bring the community together. “I believe that the Fourth of July is an opportunity for families to come out and spend the day, and there’s not a $15 ticket to get in,” he says. “There’s so many families that can’t afford to go see a good show and have a good time. When they come here, they come here free and have a great day. If it’ll help unify families or just put some smiles on some kids faces. That sounds like dime store novel, but that’s where my heart is. You come, you enjoy the day, enjoy the music.”
Gill, who is also the pastor at Liberty Baptist Church in Gallatin, says the event is strictly family friendly – that means no alcohol, and no inappropriate lyrics from the bands playing music from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
“I just think it’s that one time of year that I want to make it just as family friendly as possible,” he says. “There will be no music played with any vulgarity or any suggestive lyrics. That may seem hard to do, but there’s plenty out there.”
Rain or shine, the event has moved from the Civic Center to Triple Creek Park. Starting at 4 p.m. there will be a bounce house, youth obstacle course, foam tower presented by the fire department, dunking booth with the chief of police and live music. There are 14 food vendors scheduled to be on hand, as well as two helicopters for kids to sit in.
At 9 p.m., the $30,000 fireworks display begins and is scheduled to last 29 minutes.
“That’s $1,000 a minute,” Gill jokes.
But Gallatin is not the only one. Here are all the ways to celebrate Independence Day in Sumner County:
City of Gallatin Fourth of July Celebration
Triple Creek Park
July 4 at 4 p.m.
Hosted by the Sumner County Food Bank, there will be food vendors, activities, live music, a foam tower and 30-minute fireworks display with the color guard.
Goodlettsville’s Fourth of July Celebration
July 4 at 4 p.m.
Presented by the City of Goodlettsville at Moss-Wright Park, there will be a performance of patriotic music by the Goodlettsville Community Band, food vendors, face painting, children’s games, pony rides, foam tower, activity zone with inflatables, a four-station euro bungee, a three-station rock climbing wall, baseball and fireworks display set to music.
Hendersonville Freedom Festival
Drake’s Creek Park
July 3 at 5 p.m.
Presented by the Hendersonville Area Chamber of Commerce, there will be local entertainment, a live auction, food vendors, retailers, kid zone for additional charge and a fireworks display set to music.
Portland’s July 4th Celebration
The Bridge at Highland
July 4 at 7 p.m.
Live music and activities begin at 7 p.m., with a fireworks display as soon as it is dark.
White House Americana Celebration
July 9 at 3 p.m.
Presented by the White House Area Chamber of Commerce, “American Idol” finalist and hometown favorite Clark Beckham is headlining, along with the WannaBeatles, Tommy Ross & TCB and Marshall and Friends. There will also be multiple food trucks and carnival open July 4-9.