By pretty much all accounts, last week’s Fireworks and Fun Festival in Fulton lived up to its name (in that there were fireworks in Fulton and it was fun). Staff writer/photographer Teresa Blake estimated the crowd of people gathered on and around ICC’s Grove, particularly at dusk when the fireworks display was being prepped, to be in the thousands. This is in no way atypical for this event which, weather permitting, always draws a crowd.

Without a doubt, community events like last week’s local Independence Day celebration extremely popular. They’re also a great way to bring people to together as a community.

Unfortunately, they are also relatively rare. Itawamba County only has a handful of such events — the aforementioned fireworks fest and Mantachie Fest in the summer; Scare on the Square in the Fall; winter’s handful of Christmas parades; and Fulton’s Bluegrass, Blues, & BBQ and Tremont’s Bull Mountain Fest in the spring.

On paper, this list may seem sizable, but spread throughout the year, the number of community festivals and events feels sparse. Itawamba County needs events like the fireworks festival and Mantachie Fest, and smaller events like the now-defunct Pickin’ in the Park, to help foster a spirit of camaraderie.

A community should be more than just a group of people who happen to live together at the same place at the same time. Festivals and events strengthen our bonds.

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