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Tickets required, huge crowd expected at Centennial Park fireworks show

The show is free for folks watching outside the park.

ATLANTA — Centennial Olympic Park will host Independence Day fireworks this year for the first time since 2019. 

The event will take place Sunday, July 3.

For the first time, the park will require a $10 ticket to enter. The park will also allow firearms in the park, which has been part of state law for years, according to Georgia World Congress Center Authority Police Chief Paul Guerricci.

Authorities are expecting 40,000 or more people for the event. It comes as COVID restrictions start to fade from sight and violent crime has continued to tick upward in the City of Atlanta.

"We come to Georgia to do a vacation. We’re here for a week," said Sherdina Kelly of Vineland, New Jersey. Visiting downtown Friday, Kelly said this is the first time she's left New Jersey in two years. 

She’s among the surge of travelers this July 4th weekend. And she says she wants fireworks.

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Centennial Olympic Park is staging its first Independence Day fireworks for the first time since COVID shut down the event in 2020. State officials, who run the park, expect a crowd.

"Most community events are drawing twenty to thirty percent more (people) because people want to get out and they want to gather, and honestly we have a great program," said Jen Lemaster of the Georgia World Congress Authority, which runs the state-owned park in downtown Atlanta.

The program includes two musical acts and fireworks. Visitors will have to pass through gates and present tickets, but there will be no metal detectors – and firearms will be allowed.

"The state law allows for weapons to be carried on state property and we comply with those state laws and regulations," Guerricci said Friday.

Credit: WXIA

He added that state law allows no prohibition of guns at Centennial Olympic Park events.

Police say they have a robust security plan in place, which they declined to discuss in detail. 

Bringing a gun "is a lawful act and we support it," Guerrucci said. "What we do address is illegal behavior, regardless of where it originates from or how it evolves. That’s what we address. But we also ensure that we follow everyone’s constitutional rights and want them to have a good time when they come down for this great event."

Sherdina Kelly says she is pumped to be back here Sunday.

"Even in our state everything is shut down because of COVID, everything is not like it used to be. So with everything opening that’s opening, it’s awesome. I think its awesome," Kelly said.

Chief Guerrucci says state law requires guns to be allowed into Centennial Olympic park for all of its events – even when it’s leased to private organizers like the 420 Festival.  

Get tickets by Googling “Look up Atlanta.” Or watch for free from outside the park.

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