PTC: hold July 4 blankets, save the grass

Thu, 05/17/2007 - 2:57pm
By: John Munford

Officials asking for cooperation in staking out fireworks viewing spots

Peachtree City officials are hoping to convince fans of the city’s July 4th fireworks to hold off a little on staking out a seating area at their favorite viewing spot.

The city is asking residents to wait until 3 p.m. July 4th to put out their blankets and chairs to “reserve” their spot. The reason, according to leisure program manager Carolyn Stanton, is that folks came out so early last year that the unattended blankets and such damaged grass in a number of areas.

Stanton said the recreation department realizes this is a long-standing July 4th tradition which is why they are merely asking residents to change instead of creating a new rule that might be difficult to enforce.

“All we can do is appeal to resident’s honor system and we know they don’t want to intentionally damage the grass,” Stanton said.

Some residents have taken to laying their spread out the day before, and that has led to some complaints from citizens that although they came out at 5 or 6 p.m. there were no spots to be had, Stanton noted.

Ironically, the city’s growing tree canopy is partly to blame, as growth in some areas has made certain firework-watching spots less than ideal, Stanton noted.

The city’s July 4th festivities have become ever popular year by year, drawing crowds from not only Fayette County but also neighboring counties. The parade in particular is quite an extravaganza, as adults and children alike line Peachtree Parkway to see the spectacle ... and local businesses, civic clubs and other groups use the opportunity to promote themselves.

In recent years the city has restricted the parade to just Peachtree City and Fayette County entries, with just a few exceptions for groups invited from out of town such as Delta, which has a nice float featuring its inflatable plane mascot.

“Nobody wants to wait four to five hours just for the parade to go through,” Stanton said.

For safety purposes, the city also requires that each large entry have walkers alongside it to protect from the potential of children running in the road to collect stray candy.

The biggest problems during the parade now are gaps between entries, Stanton said, noting that at times the gaps are so large that parade watchers might mistakenly think the event is over. This year recreation staff is keeping an eye on entries that have caused gap problems in the past and they may have to ask those entries not to participate again if problems continue this year, Stanton noted.

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