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      First fourth at fairgrounds a success

      Though the rainy weather wasn't ideal, organizers of the Albany Fourth of July event say their priority was providing a fun but safe celebration at their new location.

      "This is the first time Albany is having the event with the exchange club, and so we're just trying to take everything into precaution and make sure it's safe for the public being that it's the first event that they've done out here," said Justin Andrews with the 340 Creative Group.

      After last year's fireworks were cut short due to a fight, the city knew they had to step up the security. That included moving the event to the Exchange Club of Southwest Georgia Fairgrounds with limited entrances, turning away kids without chaperones and checking people for banned items.

      "We're searching and weapon wanding everyone at both locations, so we're just making it a very secure, safe location and a family friendly event, said Albany Recreation and Parks Director Suzanne Davis.

      With the forecast showing a chance of rain throughout the entire day and most details put in place, those involved say today's plan was to make sure they could handle whatever was thrown their way.

      "Adaptability with the weather that we've got at this time of the year is a big key to the success of whatever event you're having, said former Exchange Club President Skip Nichols, who was also working with the Wilders World vendor area.

      "We can adapt to anything and the rain is not going to stop us for this event. We do have an emergency action plan in place here and APD as well as the Exchange Club and 340 Creative Group, our core team is aware of how to evacuate and clear this facility should the necessity happen," said Davis.

      Though the rain dampened some people's plans to enjoy what the festival had to offer, it stopped just in time for the grand finale fireworks show, which many came out to see.

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