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Looming storms don't dampen July 4th spirits

Photo: David McGregor . Thousands of people celebrated the Fourth of July at Sunset Cove on Lake Lanier by watching the fireworks display Monday night.

Photo: David McGregor . Thousands of people celebrated the Fourth of July at Sunset Cove on Lake Lanier by watching the fireworks display Monday night.

"Come hell or high water," Russell Garrett planned to enjoy the fireworks show Monday night.

While neither hell nor high water came, storm clouds hovered above many of Monday night's pyrotechnics displays, threatening to soak those celebrating the country's 235th birthday.

Like many other Gwinnett County residents Monday, Garrett showed up at Lake Lanier Islands' Light Up the Lake Independence Day Celebration, toting lawn chairs and a cooler.

"This is the best spot to watch the fireworks," said Garrett, who lounged with wife, Marie, near the park's campground.

"This is America. This is American soil. There ain't no better way to celebrate than fireworks."

He sported a red, white and blue button-up shirt.

Gwinnett County residents William Boone and wife Christine sat in lawn chairs near the Garrett family on Monday afternoon.

"We wanted to get here early and get a good spot to ..." Boone stopped mid-sentence, glancing at the dark blue clouds above. "Was that thunder? Did you hear thunder?"

His wife walked to the car and brought back two umbrellas. "We came prepared," she said, smiling.

Also watching the weather was the Atkins family, who was on their way out of the water park late Monday afternoon. In light of looming storm clouds, they called it a day.

"We'll probably go home and get out some fireworks ... or sparklers, I mean," Daniel Atkins said.

Added wife Wanda: "We'll put on our own show in the backyard. We want to be close enough to shelter if it starts raining tonight."

Monday night's forecast called for partly cloudy skies with a 40-percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

The Garretts said they knew that before they ventured out Monday. "We figured we'd gamble," he said. "July 4th only comes once a year."

In addition to Lake Lanier Islands' holiday display, other locations around and near Gwinnett County invited locals to attend Independence Day celebrations.

Stone Mountain Park held its Fantastic Fourth Celebration on Monday.

Mall of Georgia held its annual Fabulous Fourth event, and the Gwinnett Braves planned to launch fireworks following Monday night's game.

Many city municipalities in Gwinnett County held fireworks shows for residents over the holiday weekend as well.