from staff reports
The Meridian Star
The sky over the waters of Bonita Lakes will flash brightly tonight as the city of Meridian helps residents celebrate the annual Fourth of July holiday.
Gates will open at 3:30 p.m. Parking and admission to the event is free, with vendors selling food and drinks beginning at 4 p.m. The fireworks display begins at 9 p.m.
A free shuttle service to the park starts running at 5:30 p.m. from the Office Max parking lot at Bonita Lakes Crossing shopping center.
Musical groups will provide live entertainment.
"There will be a lot of really great local talent. I think everyone will really enjoy what Meridian has to show off this year," said Casey Null, city cultural affairs coordinator.
Amy Lott and the Usual Suspects will highlight this year's entertainment, which starts at 7 p.m., followed by the fireworks show at 9 p.m.
In addition to the food, cool drinks and music leading up to the fireworks display, Meridian Fire Department Chief Anthony Clayton says Engine 8 will be on site to ensure no sparks or embers from the explosions inadvertently cause a blaze in the pine woods surrounding the lake.
"We will have firefighters stationed all around the area to watch for any hotspots that might flare up," Clayton said. "It is supposed to rain a little during the day so it is my hope the damp conditions will keep that chance down considerably. But I don't want it to rain during the fireworks display. That would ruin it for a lot of kids."
Clayton said emergency medical responders will also be on hand during the time of the entertainment to help anyone who might have a medical issue.
Clayton a ban on fireworks inside the city limits is still in force and advised residents to obey the ban.
Also, Thursday night Archusa Creek Water Park will be the viewing site for the annual Fourth of July Boat Parade. Officials say residents will have their boats formed in an armada to parade in the waters of Archusa Creek decked out in their best Fourth of July regalia.
The boat parade will begin around 9 p.m. and it will cost $5 to park your vehiclel, no matter the number of people inside.