Thousands of people streamed into J.F. Gregory Park Saturday evening for food, music and fireworks, but Luis Rodriguez Jr. only had one thing on his mind: the inflatable Mickey Mouse bounce area.
“He’s already been in it three times, but I think he has more fun on the outside just looking at it,” said ‘LJ’s’ dad, Luis Rodriguez Sr. “He’s obsessed with Mickey Mouse.”
LJ, almost 3, and his dad were paying their first visit to the city’s Independence Day celebration.
“We lived in Richmond Hill before he was born and then I spent four years at Fort Bragg,” Rodriguez Sr. said. “We used to come to the (Great Ogeechee) Seafood Festival, but now with him this is what we do. I never bring a stroller and I just let him tire himself out.”
There were several large bounce houses set up, including one with a water slide, as well as a merry-go-round for kids. The Farmers Market area was full of vendors selling patriotic merchandise and food from ice cream to barbecue to lemonade.
Republican Congressman Buddy Carter and state Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, both gave short remarks before Cody James & Highway 55 took the stage.
Carter complimented the city on the park and the gathering, then asked the audience to applaud the public safety officers and military personnel in attendance.
“Our country is at war with radical Islamic terrorists and we have to make sure we defeat them,” Carter said. “We have to defeat those who would attack our way of life.”
Stephens echoed Carter’s comments, noting that the children in attendance laughing and running around are proof that “freedom isn’t free, and it’s not cheap, either.”
The evening closed with a fireworks display.