The America's Heroes Celebration will host the T.I. and Friends concert Aug. 15 at the Savannah Civic Center before it heads south to Jekyll Island for a weekend-long beach party, fireworks and special concerts Aug. 17-18.

Country music superstar Rodney Atkins will cap off the event with a special concert dedicated to the military and military families.

Atkins, a regular supporter of the military, tours with the USO to combat zones overseas and said he is excited to bring his show to the Georgia coast.

"I didn't grow up in the military ... Once I started playing music, I got the opportunity to meet military families," Atkins said. "I think it's really amazing the sacrifices they make and it's not just them, it's also their families.

"By meeting with them, I have learned that generations of families sacrifice and put their country first."

Atkins said his trips overseas with the USO have been life-changing.

"You get perspective, big-time," he said.

"When I was a kid, I looked up to Charlie Daniels and really paid attention to his career. He has always been such a huge supporter of our military. I think it's the right thing to do. I want my son to know it's important."

Being a dad hasn't slowed down Atkins from showing his support overseas, either.

"I'm very proud to go and be able to come back and share those stories with my son. It's a life-changing experience. When I get home, I think, 'I'll never complain again.'"

IF YOU GO

For more information about the America's Heroes Celebration military festival featuring Rodney Atkins and the Beach Music Festival, go to www.jekyllisland.com.

List of events for America's Heroes Celebration weekend at Jekyll Island:

AUG. 17

⢠Military Appreciation Festival; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Great Dunes Park; free to military, $10 for non-military

⢠Marshgrass Band with guest singer Jane Kramer and the Carolina Breakers featuring DJ Wayne Bennett at Great Dunes Park during Military Appreciation Festival

⢠Dean Torrence and Surf City All-Stars concert; 7 p.m.; Jekyll Island Convention Center; tickets at www.jekyllisland.com

AUG. 18

⢠Military Appreciation Festival; noon to 7 p.m.; Great Dunes Park; free to military, $10 for non-military

⢠Christ Yates with Courson Sounds and Cole Taylor with Marjorie Lee at Great Dunes Park during Military Appreciation Festival

⢠Rodney Atkins Military Tribute Concert with special guest Rose Falcon; 4 p.m.; Jekyll Island Convention Center; tickets at www.jekyllisland.com

He said his performances for the military have made a big impact on him.

"It's very special. Doing a USO tour and standing in the middle of a (Forward Operating Base) and singing songs like 'Farmer's Daughter' and 'Watching You' and thinking about what those songs represent to men and women defending us takes the song to another level for me."

Atkins sang a line from "Watching You" to illustrate his point.

"When I sing the line 'We got cowboy boots and camo pants' and the guys point to their camo pants, it gave me chills. Everything going on raises it up a notch.

"I remember the first time I played 'Watching You' for a welcome back ceremony for troops coming back from Iraq and I looked out at the kids dressed up like their parents wearing camo pants - it's just something else. I can't really explain it. It was just one of the moments that sticks with you."

Atkins said he doesn't have a set playlist for his Jekyll show.

"I'm just honored to be a part of it. I don't know exactly what we'll play. Hopefully we'll be able to just take our time and enjoy the show. I'm looking forward to bringing my fiancé, Rose, with me and playing with her."

This will be Atkins' first time to play a military tribute concert with his fiancé, country singer and songwriter Rose Falcon.

Atkins said he hopes he will get a chance to meet with members of the military while he's in town so he can give them his special message in person.

"I just love them. I want to say thank you for the sacrifices they make. I look forward to hanging out with them. I want them to come out and sing along."

While Atkins is set to be the headlining act for the Jekyll Island event, the America's Heroes Celebration promises to bring something for everyone.

Anna Hall, communications specialist and social media manager for the Jekyll Island Authority, said the event will be a weekend packed with activities and music for the entire family.

"We'll start early Saturday (Aug. 17) morning. We've combined our annual Beach Music Festival with the military appreciation festival from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Great Dunes Park," Hall said.

The two-day showcase will feature military-specific vendors, games and activities for families.

"Admission to the beach party is free for active duty, reservists, retirees and National Guard of all branches of military service and their families with military ID," Hall said.

"Non-military attendees can purchase tickets for $10 and a percentage of all proceeds will be donated to military support efforts."

The beach party will feature the Marshgrass Band with guest Jane Kramer and the Carolina Breakers featuring DJ Wayne Bennett.

And if the music acts aren't enough for attendees, Coca-Cola, one of the sponsors for America's Heroes Celebration, is sending out its massive Swelter Stopper to help keep everyone cool on the beach.

Cameron Mattingly, key account manager for Coca-Cola Savannah, said the Swelter Stopper is great for the beach and is always a big hit at military festivals.

"It's a 53-foot tractor trailer. It's a $1.5 million rig. It acts like a huge RV where you park it and then the rooms pop out and the sides come down," he said. "It has a party room with a DJ and a dance floor. There is an ice bar with ice-cold Coca-Cola. It has video games. They keep it 63 degrees inside. It will be at both days of the beach party."

The beach party will also feature free events and covered mess tents for dining for the military and their families sponsored by Amazing Events. Some activities include dunk tanks, water wars, speed pitch, inflatable slides and putt-putt. Food and drink vendors will also be on-site.

"Then that evening, we'll head over to the convention center to get out of the sun for a little bit and listen to more beach music," Hall said. "This is always a Beach Music Festival favorite."

The concert will feature headliner Dean Torrence, of Jan and Dean Torrence, with the Surf City All Stars, a band comprised of former members of the famed Beach Boys.

The concert is a ticketed event and discounted tickets are available to military.

Doors for the show open at 4:45 pm. for dinner, and the concert begins at 7 p.m.

Fireworks will take place at 9:30 p.m. at Great Dunes Park, and admission is free and open to the public.

The beach party will continue from noon to 7 p.m. Aug. 18 with live entertainment from locals Christ Yates and Courson Sounds, as well as Nashville newcomers Cole Taylor and Marjory Lee.

The evening will end with the Atkins concert, with Falcon taking the stage at 4 p.m. and Atkins beginning at 5 p.m. at the Jekyll Island Convention Center.

Special seating and discounts are offered to the military and their families at jekyllisland.com.