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Having a blast with the past
A re-enactor crew fires a canon at Fort McAllister. - photo by Photo provided.

Independence Day usually is celebrated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions and political speeches, all in honor of American independence.

President John Adams wrote that the Fourth of July “... ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other ...”

Several options are available to celebrate our nation’s founding.

Those looking to stay local and celebrate the Fourth in a more-traditional way can go to Fort McAllister Historic State Park.

For nearly 30 years, Fort McAllister has hosted a July Fourth event. This year is no different.

“This is a perfect environment for families and people of all ages,” says park naturalist Shirley Rowe said. “There will be traditional games from the Civil War era — games such as sack races, tug-of-war, Civil War baseball and a really fun game for children called buddy walkers.

 “It is an easy time for families to come out and experience the time period and celebrate Independence Day,” she said.

People attending can expect time period activities.

“There will be a watermelon-eating contest, which is always really popular with the children,” Rowe said.

Local re-enactors will be dressed in Civil War attire. There will be musket and cannon firing throughout the day. Crowds can expect other living-history activities, such as spinning.

The Minick Ladies will be at Fort McAllister singing Civil War-era songs in beautiful harmonies from that time period. The ladies have been seen at previous events hosted by Fort McAllister.

The event goes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Fort McAllister staff will gauge activity start times based on the size of crowd at the time.
Don’t expect electronics or special effects at this event. It’s a period celebration.

“I’ve had children say, ‘Who knew we could have so much fun with board and rope?’” Rowe said. “It is good for kids to see they can have fun as kids did during this time period, without all the electronic devices.”

Adults will pay an admission fee of $8; children ages 6-17, $5; and children younger than 6 are free. Tickets cannot be purchased online. There also is a $5 parking fee.

“Guests are welcome to bring a picnic if they would like and enjoy the space here available; no other money is needed,” Rowe said. “Events will happen throughout the day pending crowd size, so don’t be worried you will miss something.”

Visitors are welcome to tour the fort during the Fourth of July celebration. The old-fashioned event is made possible by volunteers, re-enactors, the Minick Ladies, park naturalist Shirley Rowe, assistant park manger Sarah Miller and park staff member Trevor Johnston.

For more information, go to or call 912-727-2339.

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