Independence Day marks the second of America’s beloved summer celebrations, each replete with backyard cookouts, beach parties, and family and friends who relish the long weekend and workday reprieve.
July 4th is the most celebrated of the summer holidays because it’s the day America honors its founding in 1776. And for 240 years Americans have recognized this day with traditional fireworks displays, one of which is the popular “Hot! Hot! Hot! Fireworks Extravaganza” beginning at 9:30 p.m. at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds. Prior to the show, an afternoon of fun and excitement will take place at the venue with entertainment and popular summertime cuisine in the grandstand area, followed by a performance of the Professional Bull Riders Touring Pro Division. Additional entertainment will take place in the grass area outside of the grandstands, all in preparation for one of the county’s largest and most inspiring fireworks displays.
Fun for all on Monday
Tickets are $25, $20, $15 and $10 and are available at www.avfair.com. Parking will be $5. Grandstanding seating for the fireworks show requires a paid admission ticket to the rodeo; organizers suggest visitors bring a chair and blanket for the free non-grandstand seating on the lawn. Visitors may not bring alcohol nor pets to the event.
“The city of Lancaster is very proud to host this spectacular event every year,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “Our staff works diligently with city partners to orchestrate an experience which truly celebrates our nation, as well as our community. We extend our gratitude to everyone involved in making this Fourth of July Extravaganza one of the most exciting occasions of the year.”
The rodeo will include a number of top-level professionals, including Mike Lee who became the second bull rider to cover 500 mounts in professional competition. There will also be a performance by Jim Wallace of 21st Century Skydiving as well as live music by Jacob Nelson and the Tone Wranglers. More details about the rodeo and fireworks show is available www.showdownrodeo.com and at www.cityoflancasterca.org. Sponsors include the Lancaster Auto Mall, Antelope Valley Fairgrounds and the city of Lancaster.
Many July 4th traditions
Americans have a variety of Independence Day traditions. Parades may be the most prominent on a warm summer day, and in good weather small towns and large cities line the streets to see floats, horses, cheerleaders, military units and marching bands pass by. Bristol, R.I. hosts the oldest July 4th parade beginning in 1785.
Who doesn’t love burgers and hot dogs…and steak, brats, corn-on-the-cob, etc.? There will probably be a grill burning in every neighborhood on Monday. Barbecues are shared with family, friends and/or neighbors and, when combined with a block party, cookouts have become a staple of community celebration.
Attending a fireworks show is a “no brainer.” If it is legal, however, taking a trip to the local fireworks stand to pick up some “safe and sane” sparklers, firecrackers, Roman candles or skyrockets for a brief back-yard show is an American tradition. Also, some cities host huge fireworks shows that are often broadcast on national television.
People eat a lot of ice cream on July 4th. The National Dairy Council says that the average person consumes anywhere from five to seven gallons of ice cream each year, therefore July 4th may constitute at least one of these gallons. There may be more ice cream purchased this holiday because of the local heat wave, so expect an even greater amount of cones and popsicles to be consumed this weekend.
Americans love festivals
Flying the flag became more popular after 9/11 with many homeowners nationwide opting to keep “Old Glory” waving day and night. While U.S. military bases will celebrate Independence Day with a noon gun salute (“Salute to the Union”), citizens will proudly display their flag and think about all of the men and women who have fought and died for our freedom.
Americans love festivals. They can be classic, unique and sometimes wacky but most will include lots of food, music, games, crafts and so on. These festivals sometimes host eating contests such as Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in New York City in which defending champion Matt Stonie last year ate 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Joey Chestnut still holds the record for 69 in 10 minutes in 2013, while Takeru Kobayashi—weighing 128 pounds compared to Chestnut’s 240 pounds—became a media sensation in 2011 by devouring 54 dogs in 12 minutes.
A fireworks show near you
If you plan to be out and about over the weekend, you’ll find a July 4th parade and/or fireworks show in many cities throughout the southland. Here is a list of additional locales where you can witness “the rockets’ red glare” and “the bombs bursting in air”:
–July 2-4 in Hollywood. Fireworks Spectacular with Chicago and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, 2301 N. Highland Ave., 7:30 p.m. Tickets begin at $14;
–July 3 in Moorpark. Third of July Fireworks Extravaganza, Arroyo Vista Community Park, 4550 Tierra Rejada Road. Gates open at 3:45 p.m. Music at 5 and 7:30 p.m.; fireworks begin at 9 p.m. Tickets: $5 (free for children up to 4 years);
–The following events will take place on July 4:
–Burbank. An American Celebration at the Starlight Bowl, 1249 Lockheed View Drive. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Music by Kings of 88 and Stone Soul. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m. Tickets: $20 to $25 (no ticket sales on July 4);
–Calabasas. Calabasas Fireworks Spectacular, Calabasas High School, 22855 Mulholland Hwy. A low-back lawn chair or blanket are recommended. There will be crafts, food vendors, games and music performed by Platinum Groove 5. Tickets are $10 (no purchase on July 4) and are available at Calabasas City Hall, 100 Civic Center Way; Calabasas Tennis and Swim Center, 23400 Park Sorrento, and at Juan Bautista de Anza Park, 3701 Lost Hills Road.
Tradition returns to LA Coliseum
— Camarillo. Children’s activities and live music are scheduled for the football field at Camarillo High School, 4660 Mission Oaks Blvd. Gates will open at 4 p.m. Food will be available for purchase or bring your own picnic basket (no alcohol). Fireworks begin at 9 p.m. Tickets: $2 (free for children up to 5 years);
–La Crescenta. Crescenta Valley Association Festival and Fireworks, Crescenta Valley High School, 2900 Community Ave. (at Ramsdell Avenue). Food and rides will be featured, along with music by Stinky Felix. Gates open at 4 p.m., fireworks just after 9 p.m. Tickets: $7 through Sunday, and $10 on Monday (free for children up to 7 years available on a first-come, first-served basis on July 4);
–Los Angeles. Independence Day flag raising at Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial, 451 N. Hill St. This event commemorates the first July 4th flag raising in Los Angeles in 1847. 10 a.m. Details: firstname.lastname@example.org;
–Los Angeles. Fourth of July Community Festival and Fireworks Show at Exposition Park., 700 Exposition Park Drive. Games, music and entertainment from noon to 10 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m. on the south lawn at Bill Robertson Lane. Details at www.lacoliseum.com;
–Los Angeles. Grand Park and Music Center 4th of July Block Party, 200 N. Grand Ave. Activities will include live music and food vendors on five city blocks (Spring to Hope streets, and First to Temple streets), 2 to 9:30 p.m. Music will take place at the Music Center Plaza (between Hope Street and Grand Avenue) and on the Grand Park performance lawn (between Grand Avenue and Hill Street). Free admission. No chairs, alcohol or outside beverages permitted. Details: (213) 972-8080 or visit www.grandparkla.org;
Annual Newhall parade
–Marina Del Rey. Fireworks display with viewing from: Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way (location will have live feed from KXLU 88.9-FM), Fisherman’s Village, 13755 Fiji Way, and Marina Beach, 4101 Admiralty Way. Harbor-side dinner and cruise options are available (www.visitmarinadelrey.com);
–Newhall. Old Town Newhall Fourth of July Parade starts at 9 a.m. beginning at Main Street at Fifth, to Lyons avenue, west on Lyons, north to Orchard Village Road and 16th Street. Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell will be grand marshal for parade theme “Volunteering Makes Us Stronger”;
–Ojai. Fourth of July Parade begins at 10 a.m. from Ojai Avenue at Country Club Road to Park Road (Libby Park). Music (6 p.m. by Unusual Suspects) and fireworks show at 9:15 p.m. at Nordhoff High School stadium, 1401 Maricopa Hwy. Gates open at 5 p.m. Tickets: $8 and $4 (ages 12 and under in advance), $10 and $5 (day of event);
–Oxnard. Fireworks by the Sea. Channel Island Harbor activities will include a children’s parade at 10:30 a.m. (Harbor Boulevard from Albacore Way to Cabezone Circle), farmer’s market and craft vendors throughout the day, and fireworks at 9 p.m. Visit www.channelislandsharbor.org for best viewing locations;
Special event at Reagan Museum
–Porter Ranch. Fourth of July Spectacular at Sheppard of the Hills Church, 19700 Rinaldi St. “Americana-style” music and food trucks beginning at 4:30 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m. Lawn chairs or blankets recommended. No pets. Details: (818) 831-9333;
–Simi Valley. Fourth of July Celebration at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, 40 Presidential Drive. Event includes crafts, old-fashioned games, patriotic music and “president look-a-likes.” 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free for outdoor activities. Regular museum prices are $29 (ages 18 to 61), $26 (ages 62 and over), $19 (11 to 17 years) and $16 (ages 3 to 10 years). Details: (805) 522-2977. Also at Rancho Santa Susana Community Park, Fourth of July Fireworks Extravaganza begins at 9:20 p.m. The festival begins at 2 p.m. with children’s activities, crafts, games and music by Dawson and The Chase Walker Band. Free admission. Details: (805) 390-3244;
–Sunland. Sunland-Tujunga Independence Day Parade. Rotary Club of Sunland-Tujunga and Shadow Hills will present “Celebrating Our Volunteers” parade at 10 a.m. beginning at Mount Gleason Avenue and Foothill Boulevard, west on Foothill to Sunland Boulevard (Sunland Park and Recreation Center). Details: www.stnc.org;
David Marks and ‘Surf City’
–Thousand Oaks. Conejo Pops Orchestra Independence Day Concert featuring patriotic music, 5-7 p.m. at Conejo Community Park, 1175 Hendrix Ave. Details: (805) 381-1247. Also, a fireworks show will begin at 9 p.m. Prime viewing spots include Janss Marketplace at Hillcrest Drive and Moorpark Road, and The Oaks at 350 W. Hillcrest Dr. Details: (805) 495-6471;
–Valencia. City of Santa Clarita Fourth of July Fireworks Show at Westfield Valencia Town Center, 24201 W. Valencia Blvd. Show begins at 9:15 p.m. and will be simulcast on KHTS 1220-AM. Details: (661) 286-4018;
–Woodland Hills. Fourth of July Fireworks Extravaganza, Warner Center Park, 5800 Topanga Canyon Blvd. Music by David Marks and the Surf City Allstars (6 p.m.). Fireworks at 9 p.m. Details: (818) 704-1358.