JENNINGS — On Friday, just like every year for the past four years, the Town of Jennings held its annual 4th of July Celebration on the Friday preceding the holiday at Cunningham Park.
The celebration began at 6 p.m. at the park and ended with a fireworks show at dark, which came around 9 p.m.
“We have the celebration the Friday before the fourth of July in order for everyone to still be able to attend the bigger festivals and fireworks shows,” said Town Manager George Glover.
Jennings Police Department officers were involved with their community by providing not only public safety, but community policing and fun interactions at this event with the people they protect and serve. Jennings Fire Department also attended to ensure the the safety of the attendees.
The celebration brings between 300-400 people consistently every year. There was fun for everyone at the celebration; with multiple food vendors, a game booth and a bounce house and inflatable slide for the children to play on in addition to the two jungle gym sets that are permanently built in Cunningham Park.
“Mrs. Burnam is always so generous to bring the bounce house and slide to the celebration each year and it is always greatly appreciated, both by myself and everyone in attendance.” Glover said of County Commissioner District 1 Beth Burnam, who also supervises the bounce house and slide, ensuring the children are safe while they have fun, with parent’s permission. Burnam enjoys watching the children enjoy the activities while talking with the parents of the children, getting to know them and where they are from, while ensuring everyone enjoys the festival.
There was much going on at the celebration; between the community conversations and fellowship between those in attendance, the fun activities for the children such as the playgrounds and the bounce house and slide, the food vendors, and the live music that is provided each year by “DJ Salt Life,” a locally owned and operated service by a well known Hamilton County resident, Chuck Burnett.
So many of the children were playing with other children on the two playgrounds permanently built in Cunningham Park, as well as on the bounce house and slide. Children made new friends throughout the evening, playing tag and dancing to the music within the park as parents watch their children enjoy the festivities.
There was also great food vendors to be found at the Jennings Fourth of July Celebration, including one new vendor at this year’s event. In addition to Christy’s Express, Southern Amigos Rollin’ Kitchen and The Empowering Tabernacle House of Prayer, there was also a food truck from T&T Hay Farms, called T&T BBQ, owned and operated by Rodney Tyre.
“We love to support local, and we’ve never been to the fourth of July celebration here, but if it fits our schedule, we will be back next year,” Tyre said. “It’s been a great turnout and in the community I was born and raised in, we believe in supporting locally.”
Two of the food vendors are from local churches; Tabernacle of God’s Love, in Jennings, and Empowering Tabernacle House of Prayer, in Jasper. Tabernacle of God’s Love uses the money raised for multiple causes, including Hurricane relief funding, and a Back to School event that the church will be hosting July 14 in Jennings at the church, to help low income families prepare their children for the upcoming school year by providing backpacks and school supplies. Empowering Tabernacle House of Prayer has been remodeling their church in Jasper located by the old middle school in order to accommodate their growing numbers, to which funding will help them in their deadline to open for services to be held in their new building in August. Both of these churches have had food services at all four of the annual 4th of July celebrations in Jennings.
The night skies came at 9 p.m., and so the crowd set up their chairs in both Cunningham Park and the open field across the street for the fireworks show. The fireworks show lasted upwards of 40 minutes, displaying many colors and beautiful patterns of fireworks into the night sky of Jennings. Children and adults alike looked up to the sky and admired the flashing of colors as each firework went off above Cunningham Park.
“It’s all thanks to the generous donations of the TDC and Hamilton County Development Program that this is all possible, I’m very thankful to them for donating the funds to make this possible for our community,” Glover said.