AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Many can argue that the Fourth of July is the summer’s best holiday. Several locations in the River Region are kicking off our country’s birthday with celebrations. More than 30,000 people showed up to the annual “Fort Gordon Independence Day Celebration.”

“It used to be kind of a small hometown, Fourth of July picnic type of deal,” said event coordinator, Craig Larcen. “But in the last few years, we’ve really tried to step it up a notch. We rally want top talent because that’s what brings people.”

For more than 20 years, Fort Gordon has opened its gates to the community with kiddie rides, live music, food vendors and a fireworks show.

“I feel like we are just regular people. It’s the job we do, but a different line of work,” said Nathaniel Gibbons. “So a lot of people will thank you but we are just doing our jobs. We appreciate the support from people.”

Over in Burke County, the community has its own annual celebration.

“This community is really good at pulling together for something like this,” explained Mad Anthony’s Big Boom Firework Extravaganza coordinator, Don Lively. “I will tell you, we don’t get any government funding for this show.”

“Mad Anthony’s Big Boom Extravaganza” brings more than 2,000 people not only to watch the fireworks display but to reflect.

“A lot of veterans sacrificed a lot for us,” said Richard Kotter. “I’m really grateful for that.”

What’s everyone’s favorite part of the Fourth July?

“Spend time with family, watching the fireworks,” said Miriam Acosta. “Especially have a bar-b-que. You have to have a bar-b-que for the Fourth of July.”

“Just watching the fireworks and having a great time,” said Kotter.

“As long as we are able to raise the funds, we will continue to do it on the third every year,” explained Lively.

Photojournalist: Will Baker