Update, 10:30 a.m., July 3: Despite Friday's storm, Howard County's 4th of July celebration at the Columbia Lakefront will go on as scheduled, according to Howard County Recreation and Parks.
If you're thinking about heading out to Howard County's celebration of America's birthday, then make sure you plan to get there early, but not too early.
Phil Bryan, special events coordinator for the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, said the county is expecting between 30,000 and 50,000 people to attend the fireworks at Lake Kittamaqundi in Columbia.
The lakefront area will open at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, July 4, for people to begin to put breathable blankets or sheets down on the grass. At 3 p.m., people can begin to put down tarps, according to the Columbia Association.
"Anything prior to that and the Columbia Association will remove them," said Bryan, who noted the CA wants to keep the grass at the lakefront healthy.
Rounding out the festivities at the lakefront will be a children's stage with entertainment, carnival games and food vendors, all opening at 5 p.m. At 7 p.m., a band will start playing and will continue until the fireworks begin, around dusk or 9:30 p.m., according to Bryan.
For a full list of activities and vendors you can refer to recreation and park's flyer on the celebration.
Residents can bring their own coolers with food and beverages to the lakefront, but no alcohol is allowed, according to Bryan.
Police will likely close down Little Patuxent Parkway around 7 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. due to excessive traffic, according to Bryan. If you're still trying to get to the celebration after that time, you may be able to get into the back of the Columbia Mall parking lot and walk over to the lakefront.
"We get a lot of people who come at 9 [p.m.] who expect they can get a front row parking spot and it doesn't happen," said Bryan. "Come between 5 and 6:30 p.m., if you want a good spot."
Public parking will be designated with signs on the day of the event.
The event will feature fireworks by Garden State Fireworks, a worldwide fireworks company founded by the Santore brothers in New Jersey in 1890.
When asked what people in Howard County can expect this year, Fran Santore said, "They're going to see a fabulous display."
Bryan said the fireworks will last for about 20 minutes.