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Starlight fireworks event set for 20th installment in August

Starlight 2018 preview 1
The 20th annual Starlight Celebration and fireworks event will be held Aug. 25 on UNG's Gainesville Campus.

The Starlight Celebration and fireworks event on the University of North Georgia’s (UNG) Gainesville Campus is turning 20 this year.

Set for Aug. 25, Starlight will offer free cooling towels with the 20th anniversary logo to the first 1,000 people at the G.W. Bailey Amphitheater at 3820 Mundy Mill Road in Oakwood, Georgia.

Richard Oates, vice president of the Gainesville Campus, said he’s heard from multiple families who come to Starlight every year. About 4,000 people are expected to attend this August.

“It’s just a great family event,” Oates said. “It’s something the community has embraced, and people keep coming back.”

Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 25 for the event full of performances from UNG students, with fireworks at dark. The rain date is Sept. 8. UNG students, faculty and staff and community members are welcome.

Scheduled to coincide with the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, Starlight will feature performances from Low Brass Collective, the Jazz Ensemble and the Gainesville Theatre Alliance. The Patriot Choir will perform the national anthem, with the Color Guard presenting the colors.

Previously a June staple with more of an alumni focus, this will mark the third year Starlight has taken place in August as part of Weeks of Welcome, a variety of social activities and educational programs during the first two weeks of each semester.

“It’s a great way for our students to interact with the community,” Oates said.

Jack’s Applewood Smoked BBQ and Frozen Frenzee sweets will be for sale. Picnics are also welcome.

Face-painting, inflatables, a play tent, and glow items will also be part of the festivities. The UNG bookstore will sell merchandise, as well.

Pirone Entertainment will provide the DJ for the event.

The event is free, but parking costs $10 per car or $20 per bus, van or larger vehicle. UNG students can enter for free with a valid UNG parking permit. Oates said money from the event will help offset student financial needs.

For the safety of guests, the following items are prohibited at Starlight: walk-ins, pets (other than service animals), sparklers or outside fireworks, grills or any open flames, political signage, advertisements, or unlawful weapons.

Oates said volunteers from all five UNG campuses will help with the event.

He said kids love seeing Nigel the Nighthawk, UNG’s mascot, and community members enjoy seeing UNG students, including student-athletes.

“When you offer an event that people keep coming back to experience, it’s really become a tradition for our campus,” Oates said. “If they keep coming back, we must be doing something right.”

Additionally, everyone is encouraged to use #UNGstarlight when sharing their photos of family, friends and fireworks during and after the event.

For more information about Starlight, visit the Starlight celebration event page online.Starlight 2018 preview 2

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