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By MARTY FINLEY firstname.lastname@example.org WHITE MILLS — White Mills Days has been an annual event for more than 30 years, and this year organizers plans to inject a dose of fireworks into the festivities — literally. Tim Dennis, president of the White Mills Civic League, which organizes the festival, said he has wanted to bring a fireworks display to White Mills Days for three or four years, and finally reached an agreement this year. He said the fact that the festival begins on Independence Day helped his case. The explosive event will close out an eventful opening day to the festival, which begins at 6 p.m. Friday on the grounds of White Mills Christian Camp. In addition to the fireworks, perusers of the festival can expect to find a pet show, a canoe race, a cake walk, a beauty pageant and live gospel music to round out their entertainment options. Hardin Memorial Hospital also will be on hand to take people above the fray in a hot air ballon, weather permitting. On Saturday, people can shake the holiday calories by gearing up and meeting at the Civic League building for a 5-K run, which begins at 7:45 a.m. The run will lead into the parade at 10 a.m. Games, including darts, basketball and an inflatable house, are planned and those in attendance can catch either the tractor show or the car show, which both begin at 11:30 a.m. A barbecue chicken dinner will be served, alongside ham, at noon. Dot Graham, secretary for the White Mills Civic League, said the event is known for its barbecue chicken and a secret recipe. Graham said they expect to serve at least 1,000 halves of chicken to festival-goers this year. Other food and concessions will be available as well. A baby contest, line dancing and swimming also are scheduled, and the activities will wrap up with an auction at 2 p.m. Local businesses donate items for the auction and families also prepare baskets with themes, such as sports, Dennis said. Graham said local homemakers also will unveil a quilt block they have made. The White Mills Civic League puts the money raised at White Mills Day back into the community. It is used to support the White Mills Volunteer Fire Department and various community programs. Graham pointed out that White Mills Days also is referred to as Homecoming Days — a moniker that fits. “A lot of people come back here to see old neighbors,” she said. Dennis agreed, saying it gave people in the community a chance to slow down their hectic lives and reminisce. “(It’s) an emphasis on citizenship and an emphasis on the past,” Dennis said. Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762.