Rocky Mount, VA - The second time was the charm in Rocky Mount Friday night for the Rotary Club's 30th Annual Independence Day Celebration at Franklin County High School.
Originally scheduled for July 3, the event was postponed due to soggy field conditions. Luckily, an area of dry and cool weather set in just in time for the festival Friday evening.
The thousands of attendees didn't seem to mind celebrating a little late at all.
The event, made popular by one of the area's biggest firework shows around, drew thousands from the Franklin County community and beyond. The entire football field filled up quickly after the gates opened at 5 p.m., with many sitting in the bleachers as well.
Before the fireworks, popular Franklin County area singer Corey Hunley took the stage, which was moved up from the field onto the gym's sidewalk area because concerns due to the wet ground.
A last-minute effort paid off for bluegrass music fans as well. The popular Harwell Grice Band was supposed to perform, but had to cancel before the event. Another bluegrass band, County Bound, quickly prepared to perform in their place, however. The crowd didn't even seem to even notice.
The Rocky Mount Rotary Club organizes the festival each year.
This year, the Rotarians honored three members who passed away over the past year, including popular and well-known banker Larry Heaton. A tearful moment of silence filled the high school stadium as Emcee and Rotary member Mark Hudzik remembered the contributions of the fallen Rotary Club members.
In addition to the fireworks, there was lots of food and games for children of all ages. Area pageant winners and scouts were on hand to help hand out awards and honor the American Flag.
The Rotary Club thanked their many sponsors for helping keep the event free to the public for another year. They used proceeds from raffle tickets to benefit local charities.
-ABC 13 Meteorologist Jamey Singleton