Fort Mill Times

Marking the nation's birthday

The Tega Cay celebration will include a spectacular fireworks show.
The Tega Cay celebration will include a spectacular fireworks show.

While many people have been flocking to the fireworks mega stores along the border to stock up on bottle rockets and exploding shells for Friday night, Fort Mill and Tega Cay have been planning some celebrations of their own.

Independence Day is not only America's 232nd birthday, it's also Tega Cay's 26th. July 4 is always a big deal in the Tree City, and this year is no different.

"Every year this thing gets bigger and bigger," Community Relations Committee Chairman Bill Stumpf said.

"We've got a lot of new people involved and it's really starting to pay off."

In Fort Mill, the annual July 4 cannon firing in Confederate Park has been moved back to a daytime event, scheduled to go off at 10 a.m. Rep. John Spratt (D-York) will be a guest speaker for the Fort Mill celebration.

Live, patriotic music is also part of the downtown event.

For those familiar with Tega Cay's tradition, all the annual events are back again this year. The Red White and Blue Golf Tournament will begin with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. Spots are still available for the captain's choice tournament through Thursday July 3. For more details or to sign up, call the Tega Cay Golf Course Pro Shop at 548-2918.

Before the annual parade down Tega Cay Drive starts at 9 a.m., Tega Cay Police will clear the street for a new event, the Motorcycle Jam, with riders running up and down the parade route. At least 70 participants had signed up for the parade last Friday, including an honor guard from Shaw Air Force Base, a contingent of about 20 costumed Star Wars characters, several groups of Shriners and the Fort Mill High School marching band, Stumpf said.

Following the parade, the festivities will move to Windjammer Park for a series of events on the lake, beginning with two-person canoe joust teams trying to knock each other into the water at 11 a.m.

The boat parade, which has at least 20 entries this year will come next. Prizes including front row seats at three Charlotte Knights home games, a $100 gift certificate at the Tega Cay Marina and a $50 gift certificate to Marine West will be awarded to the top three boats. Participants must be lined up at Niven's Creek landing by 11 a.m., and the parade will pull into the Windjammer area around 12:30 p.m.

After the boat parade, the Carolina Show Ski Team will take to the water with a display of talent, acrobatics and a little comedy for good measure.

Then the party moves to Glennon Community Center, where another new addition, a replica C-17, will pay tribute to the nation's military heritage. Crews from Shaw Air Force Base will construct the replica at the course Thursday.

From 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., the Tega Cay Lions Club will be holding its annual fish fry at the golf course pavilion, and the city's birthday party will start at 8:15 p.m. with Rep. Spratt as guest speaker.

Stumpf is promising a batter fireworks display this year. The city hired Pyrotechnico, a New Castle Penn. based company, to produce a $10,000 fireworks display at 9:30 p.m.

The city is also bringing in the Charlotte Concert Band, aka the Don Morris Band, to play as a 12-piece band outside the pavilion during the party, and as a 30-piece orchestra for a dance in the Glennon Center from 10 p.m. to midnight, Stumpf said.