Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said what he likes most about the Fourth of July is seeing families get out to enjoy the streets of Lexington.
Each year, the festivals are packed, he said.
"It really reflects the vitality of the city," Gray said.
On Wednesday, the mayor began the countdown to the city's annual Fourth of July Festival.
"There's no more exciting time, except perhaps Christmas, as the Fourth of July in Lexington," Gray said during a news conference at the Fifth Third Bank Pavilion in downtown Lexington.
The Fourth of July Festival has been going on since 1984. It attracts 100,000 people, according to the mayor's office.
The festival will kick things off on July 2 with the Great American Pie Contest and Ice Cream Social. Several events are scheduled through the week, leading up to the Fourth of July parade and the fireworks show.
Donna Moloney, chairwoman of the Fourth of July Festival, said she is looking forward to the parade.
"I love a parade," she said. "The parade excites children of all ages."
Renee Jackson, president of the Downtown Lexington Corp., and representatives of Lexington police and firefighters also were at the conference.
Lexington fire Maj. Mike Farmer encouraged people to stay safe while celebrating the Fourth of July.
Only ground and handheld sparkling devices can be sold in Fayette County, Farmer said.
If people want to set off their own fireworks, there are guidelines, such as buying them at a licensed store or stand, Farmer said. He also said people should follow the directions on the package, keep them away from children, stay away from buildings and vehicles, keep water nearby and avoid mixing alcohol and fireworks.
On the other hand, Farmer said, "The best way to enjoy your fireworks is going to be at a display event."
Taylor Harrison: (859) 231-1324. Twitter: @heraldleader.