Monday August 19th, 2019 1:46AM

Demorest pursuing Josh Turner concert at Glorious Fourth of July

By Rob Moore Reporter
  Contact Editor

DEMOREST — In conjunction with Habersham County’s bicentennial celebration, the City of Demorest is planning its largest-ever Glorious Fourth of July Celebration on July 4.

Following closed session Tuesday night, the Demorest City Council voted unanimously to engage entertainers John King and Josh Turner, or comparable acts, to perform the headline concert during the event.

“The city council has spent a great deal of time tonight discussing one particular issue that falls under an item that regards our Glorious Fourth Independence Day celebration,” Austin said upon returning to open meeting. “The reason for it being in executive session is because it’s going to entail a potential lease, if not a lease, of Piedmont College property in order to facilitate that particular event. There are a number of motions that need to come out from that particular discussion.”

The first motion, by Councilman Sean Moore and seconded by Councilman John Popham, was for the council to authorize City Manager Kristi Shead to engage with Piedmont College for a lease/discussion for the Glorious Fourth of July event. That motion passed unanimously.

The second motion, by Councilwoman Florence Wikle and seconded by Popham, authorized Shead to engage Turner and King, or comparable acts, to perform during the Glorious Fourth of July Celebration. The motion passed unanimously.

“I think it’s an excellent opportunity for us to celebrate this county’s history at 200 years, and an opportunity for us to do something that we haven’t done this big in the city of Demorest, maybe ever,” Austin said after the meeting. “The price point that we’re looking for is far below what it would cost anyone to go and see a Josh Turner and John King concert, so it’s going to be a bargain and you don’t have to drive to Atlanta for it.”

Austin said the concert will be in a controlled-access setting on the baseball field, and will be a standing-room only event with a limited number of tickets available for a price yet to be determined.

“It’s our hope that it will be a stellar event, and the council and I are excited about it,” Austin said. “A lot of hard work has gone into this, and I can’t say enough about how appreciative I am of Piedmont College partnering once again with the city, as illustrated last week and again this week, in moving forward again in a very joint fashion as we partner together to serve our community. I am very grateful to [Piedmont President] James Mellichamp, to Gus Arrendale and the rest of the board of trustees for their partnership with the City of Demorest.”

The third motion, by Moore and seconded by Popham, was to authorize Shead to engage municipal temporary services, as she deems necessary, to execute the event. The motion passed unanimously.

The fourth motion, by Moore and seconded by Popham, was to authorize the Demorest Downtown Development Authority to enter into contracts and amend the budget for the Glorious Fourth of July Celebration purposes discussed Tuesday night. The motion passed unanimously.

Another highlight of this year’s event will be an enhanced fireworks display, visible from a wider area as it used to be. The plan is for higher fireworks to be shot from the parking lots over the baseball complex, visible from more of the city.

“There will be opportunities galore with the fireworks that are going to be set off that people can see should they not want to participate in the paid concert event,” Austin said.

The day’s schedule will not change much from previous years.

“Let me stress that all of the regular events that occur in downtown Demorest as have occurred in years past will occur,” Austin said. “There will be an additional stage in the park. There will be additional music acts in the park. We’ve got all of the vendors that will be here. The parade obviously will go on. It’s going to be a grand day. We’re hopeful that people will come out and enjoy, and it’s my hope that not only local people will come out and celebrate as they do every year, but that it might attract other people who have never been in our community before to see what a great place Habersham County is, which always leads to the potential of economic development. That’s an important aspect of this as well. It’s an investment by the City of Demorest in our community.”

Austin said the celebration is in its 128th year, and almost always has been held on Independence Day.

“There are two Fourth of Julys I’m aware of that the celebration did not actually occur on an Independence Day,” Austin told AccessWDUN after the meeting. “They got pushed back. One of them was in World War II as I understand it during one of those war years, and the other one was probably less than a decade ago when we got covered up with a tropical storm and it rained for days straight without giving any relief whatsoever. Other than that, it’s my understanding that the Glorious Fourth Independence celebration in the city of Demorest has happened on July 4 every year since 1890 with just a couple of exceptions.”

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  • Associated Tags: fireworks, Demorest Glorious Fourth of July Celebration, Demorest City Council, City of Demorest, concert, Mayor Rick Austin
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