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Rock Hill's downtown goes boom tonight - come early to see

Eating ice cream, riding a mechanical bull, dancing and watching fireworks are among the activities today as Rock Hill celebrates its 9th annual Red, White and BOOM.

Downtown marketing and events manager Candy Clapp said they are expecting another great turnout and urges people to come early to get a good seat at downtown's Old Amphitheater.

"We've had anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 people," she said.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with Crosshare, a local band which won a Battle of the Bands event to claim the opening slot.

The main attraction is the Atlanta Party Band, which takes over at 6 p.m. The eight-piece band has opened for acts such as P-Diddy and Stevie Wonder. The band covers "all the decades and styles," including swing, Motown and the 70s and 80s.

"It's going to be like a dance party," Clapp said. "This band will really get the crowd dancing, so we're leaving a lot of space open for that.

"It gives everyone an opportunity to see what a concert would be like."

Children's activities include a water slide and an ice-cream contest for children ages 10 and older at 6 p.m.

Food, beverage and vendors will be available, and several downtown restaurants will be open.

New this year is the mechanical bull ride, for ages 10 and up. Tickets are $5 and participants must be at least four feet tall.

Clapp said the mechanical bull is a promotion for the Charlie Daniels Band, who will play as part of the Old Town Concert series Aug. 11. People can register to win free T-shirts and Charlie Daniels CDs for filling out a survey.

The evening finishes with a fireworks show at 10 p.m.

The show will go on, rain or shine. People are not allowed to bring their own coolers and food. Parking will be available on Main Street, behind city hall and the library and on the Black Street parking deck.

The concert is free.