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Public invited to Bonita festivities

By Staff
Photo illustration by Janet McDonald / The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
July 4, 2003
Today, Bonita Lakes Park will be filled with thousands celebrating Independence Day with food, fireworks and friendship honoring the creation of the United States of America more than 225 years ago.
The Fourth of July Cellular South Pops Concert will take place at Bonita Lakes' upper lake and organizers have planned a special tribute to former U.S. Rep. G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery.
Former President George Bush will be among many high-profile officials who will honor Montgomery at the 15th annual celebration.
But while Bush will make a taped statement broadcast on a large video screen, others from Mississippi including U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck and House Speaker Tim Ford are expected to attend in person.
Before the concert, the big screen also will show videos depicting the proposed Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center and the Riley Education and Performing Arts Center.
The park will open to the public at 3 p.m. on July 4. Food vendors will start selling at 3:30 p.m. Stage activities will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the tribute to Montgomery.
An 8 p.m. concert will be preceded by a fly-over by pilots from Naval Air Station Meridian. A fireworks display will begin at 9 p.m.
Besides Musgrove, Tuck and Ford, others expected to attend include GOP gubernatorial candidate Haley Barbour and Democratic lieutenant governor candidate and state Sen. Barbara Blackmon.
Also expected to attend are more than 30 local officials and state lawmakers, including state Rep. Eric Robinson, state Rep. Greg Snowden and state Sen. Videt Carmichael.
For those wanting to park in Bonita Lakes Mall parking lots, a shuttle will run every 30 minutes from 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m. The same shuttles will pick up riders at the drop-off spot and take them back to the main mall entrance starting 10 minutes after the fireworks show is over.
The events at Bonita will go on rain or shine.