With Memorial Day come and gone, only a month remains before America’s grandest patriotic holiday – and the nation’s 236th birthday.
And this Fourth of July should be one to remember, local event organizers say, as 2012’s Stars and Stripes Fourth of July Red, White and Boom will be the biggest Independence Day event Turlock has seen in years.
“The Fourth of July is going to be a heritage event in Turlock,” said organizer Al Seaton. “There's no reason to go anywhere else.”
As many as 20,000 guests are expected for the free, one-day celebration, combining a parade, car show, and fireworks.
It’s a change from last year, when the traditional parade and the fireworks celebration “crossed purposes” in Seaton’s words. In 2011, the Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association parade was held July 2, while the Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, held a fireworks celebration on July 4.
This year, both events will take place on the same day for the first time.
“We’re encouraging an all-day family day, making it as enjoyable as possible,” Seaton said.
The all-day celebration could translate into the largest Fourth of July crowd in Turlock since 2008, when California State University, Stanislaus hosted its final fireworks celebration before budgetary difficulties ended the tradition.
With the help of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, the fair took over the fireworks on short notice in 2009, drawing a crowd of about 5,000. In 2010, no fireworks were launched in Turlock. A 2011 return to the fairgrounds drew a modest crowd, far smaller than the old CSU Stanislaus fireworks.
A day of fireworks, fun
Independence Day will kick off with the traditional parade down Main Street Turlock, beginning at 10 a.m. The parade will start at the corner of Palm Street and West Main Street, driving down Main past a judging stand at the corner of Broadway and Main Street.
Then, many of the parade participants will proceed down Golden State Boulevard to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, where the Fenders and Fireworks car show will be held, beginning at 12:30 p.m.
In past years, the car show had been held downtown as part of the parade, but the change of venue will allow a car show at least twice as large as in years past. According to Seaton, some out-of-town car enthusiasts have already booked hotel rooms for the show.
That car show is expected to help transition the parade into the evening fireworks, turning the Independence Day celebration into an all-day event.
“It's tough to have people be out all day, and go home and get cleaned up and go out again for fireworks,” Seaton said.
Bands will play, contests will be held, and vendors will offer their wares. In a new twist, a community barbecue area will offer two giant grills where families can cook their own food.
Doors will officially open for the fireworks at 6 p.m., with show starting at 9:30 p.m. Fair spokesperson Adrenna Alkhas said the free fireworks were made possible, in large part, by title sponsor 7up.
The firework show itself will be similar to last year’s, Alkhas said. But with major players committed to the Stars and Stripes Fourth of July Red, White and Boom for years to come, the event could become even grander in the coming year.
“Next year might be even bigger,” Alkhas said
Attendees may not bring alcohol, glass, or fireworks inside the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds.
For more information on participating in the parade or as a vendor, call Al Seaton at 632-2221. For more information on participating in the car show, call Rick Wallenburg at 604-3044.