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On Wednesday, July 3, the cities of Hattiesburg and Petal will come together for the second time to celebrate the country’s birthday with a fireworks display over the Leaf River in Forrest County.

Last year’s inaugural Star-Spangled Celebration brought out more than 10,000 people for the music and activities at Chain Park in Hattiesburg and Petal River Park in Petal. The Petal Area Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Hattiesburg Association are working together with many private and public entities to produce a first-class Fourth of July experience.

Both mayors – Toby Barker in Hattiesburg and Petal’s Hal Marx – praised the 2018 festivities.

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“I have never seen as many people this park as at last year’s Star-Spangled Celebration,” Barker said during a news conference at Chain Park last week. “Where else can you see a dueling fireworks show? It’s kind of a prelude to the Petal-Hattiesburg football game. Whether you come to the Petal side or the fun side, which is Hattiesburg, just come out and enjoy the sense of community and what this holiday stands for.”

Marx said he is planning on an even larger crowd for Wednesday.

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“We had a great first year,” he said. “I was really blown away by how many people showed up on our side of the river. Our park (Petal River Park) is not as developed as this beautiful park is. We don’t have the nice roads and sidewalks, so it’s a little harder to get in. But, we had people packed in, and we expect even more this year.”

Food vendors and live music will begin the festivities at 6 p.m., followed by the fireworks display at 9. Beer will be sold only on the Hattiesburg side of the event.

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Presented by Coca-Cola, activities, a kids’ zone, and a range of food vendors will be on both sides of the Leaf River. Additionally, official event T-shirts and tank tops will be available for purchase in both parks.

Admission to the event is free, and attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit back and enjoy the festivities. Pets, glass, tents, and personal fireworks (including sparklers) are not permitted. Parking onsite is limited, but shuttle service will be available for people who park offsite.

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Anyone who has accessibility needs is encouraged to enjoy the festivities on the Hattiesburg side because Petal River Park does have adequate facilities.

Watercraft will not be allowed on the Leaf River during the Star-Spangled Celebration.

For more details and information please visit https://www.starspangledevent.com.

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