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City of Lanett to celebrate 125th anniversary

LANETT — The City of Lanett will be celebrating its 125th anniversary with a Labor Day weekend fireworks show. It will be starting at approximately 8:30 p.m. EDT at the Lanett Mill site. The best viewing will be on the west side of Gilmer Avenue near the former mill parking lots.

“We had planned to have this back in the spring, but COVID-19 set us back,” said Mayor Kyle McCoy. “At that time, we rescheduled it for Labor Day weekend thinking that COVID would be long gone by then. It’s still with us, so we are asking people to come and enjoy the show but to social distance, watch the show in small groups and to wear masks if you’d like.”

The City of Lanett was created by the Alabama Legislature on Feb. 2, 1895, It was a matter of changing the city’s original name of Bluffton (1865) to Lanett to capitalize off of the fast growth created by Lanett Mill and the Lanett Bleachery & Dye Works. The mill went into production in 1894 and the dye works the next year.

“We thought it would be appropriate to celebrate it on Labor Day weekend,” McCoy said. “For many years, the mill and dye works were Lanett’s major employment center. We will be celebrating and honoring what the mill workers meant to this city for a long period of time. We will also be looking to the future with high hopes for what the mill site can mean as a commercial zone for Lanett.”

Tractor Supply was the first new store to open on the site. It will be celebrating its one-year anniversary in December. There’s enough room on the site for seven or eight more new businesses to locate there. The enormous traffic count on nearby Highway 29 should help spur development. The historic mill tower and the nickel bus shelter will offer some quaint touches to a 21st-century development. The 25-acre mill site is the largest piece of undeveloped land from one end of the Valley to the other. It’s less than a half-mile away from the junction of Highway 50 and less than a mile from Exit 79 on I-85.

“We want everyone to have fun on Saturday night, but we want them to be safe,” McCoy said. “Be careful of traffic and remain in small groups. Be respectful of others and the site where you watch the show. Don’t leave litter behind. Be sure to take out what you bring in. It’s a symbolic weekend for the city, both for our past and our future. We want everything to go well.”