Although summer as a season was not canceled last year, Villa Rica’s season of fun and activities took a break.
But not this year. After months of mask-wearing and vaccination shots, COVID-19 cases are on the decline. And that means that Villa Ricans eager to get out and do things can expect a much more normal season of activities.
Those events start as soon as tomorrow with an outdoor movie and will continue through the rest of the year with summertime concerts, the July 3 Fireworks Extravaganza, the Thomas A. Dorsey Birthplace Music Festival, and the Gold Rush Festival.
On Friday, May 14, Reel at the Mill returns; a family favorite that involves a movie shown on a screen at the outdoor The Mill amphitheater, 106 Temple St. The 2020 Pixar film “Onward” will be shown, which tells the story of two elf brothers who set out on a quest through a suburban fantasy world.
Because the film will be shown outside as soon as it gets dark, those who attend are asked to bring their own blankets or lawn chairs — along with a jacket.
According to the forecasters at weather.com, Friday will be generally sunny despite a few afternoon clouds. The high that day is expected to be 71 degrees Fahrenheit with a low of 47 degrees. Sunset will be 8:33 p.m.
Although the show is free, soft drinks, water, popcorn and candy will be available for purchase for $1 each.
Looking ahead past Memorial Day, the first of the city’s summer concert series will held Saturday June 12, featuring Sister Hazel.
The concert, which will take place at The Mill, will be free although reserved seating can be purchased through the freshtix.com website. The concert will begin at 8 p.m. and end at 10 p.m. There will be a beer and wine concession.
Sister Hazel is a six-person band from Gainesville, Florida, that Performing Songwriter Magazine has called one of the top 100 most influential independent performers of the last 15 years. In 1997, their song “All for You” topped the adult alternative charts and took their album to platinum status. The group’s music is an interesting blend of alternative and country; in fact, they have recorded four back-to-back Billboard Top Country charting albums.
Other summer concerts have been scheduled for July 24, August 7, and September 10 but no details have been released.
Also making a comeback after a year’s hiatus is the Thomas A. Dorsey Birthplace Music Festival. The 27th annual festival is scheduled for June 26 and honors the Villa Rica native with performances that honor his two careers, that of a pioneering jazz musician and as the “Father of Gospel Music.”
No performances have yet been announced for this event.
On July 3, the 15th annual Fireworks Display Extravaganza will be held, returning after being canceled last year over fears of spreading the coronavirus.
As always, this free event will be held — rain or shine — at the Villa Rica Civic Center and Sports Complex, better known as the V-Plex, at 1605 Highway 61.
The show will feature two nostalgia bands, Common Rarity, which covers the songs of Billy Idol, Poison, Van Halen, Guns N Roses, Journey, and other power bands of the 80s and 90s. Monsters of Yacht covers the hits of the 70s and 80s.
Along with a sky full of fireworks, there will be other music, face painting, inflatables, and other fun activities. The show begins at 5 p.m. and will continue through the end of the fireworks display, which will begin as soon as it gets dark. Sunset for July 3 will be 8:54 p.m.
This event normally draws thousands of people and parking on site will be limited. VIP parking passes can be purchased while supply lasts for $10 at Gold Dust Park beginning on June 7. There are also several large parking areas in the vicinity of the V-Plex.
The annual Gold Rush Festival will end the summer’s events. It was the sole item that was not canceled last year, and this year will be held on Sept. 11. It will feature street vendors and a parade through downtown.