Fireworks shows will be few and far between in the Central Valley on Independence Day. Budget constraints have led to the cancellation of fireworks displays in Turlock, Modesto, Merced and Livingston this year. Turlock residents will have to travel to Atwater if they want to see fireworks on this 4th of July.
California State University, Stanislaus announced last year that they would not hold their annual Fantastic Fourth celebration due to difficult economic times. The university had hosted the event for 24 years, and the show drew thousands of visitors to the CSU Stanislaus campus. The event cost an estimated $50,000 a year to produce, with some of that money coming from private donations.
“We regret having to cancel such a popular program, but there just isn’t enough money or personnel to support the event,” said Kristin Olsen, university spokesperson, when the show's cancellation was announced last year.
University spokesperson Eve Hightower said that CSU Stanislaus has no plans to bring back their Fantastic Fourth celebration at this time.
When California State University, Stanislaus announced that they would not host a 4th of July fireworks event at their Turlock campus last year, Sharon Silva, executive director of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, stepped in and threw together a community fireworks display in just over a month. This year, however, Silva was not able to save the popular Turlock celebration. Due to the change in run dates of the Stanislaus County Fair the fairgrounds are not available on July 4. There is just not enough time between Independence Day and the July 16 opening day of the fair, Silva said.
“Unfortunately, there was no place for me to go to have a fireworks show that would be safe, other than the university and the fairgrounds,” Silva said.
There will, however, be a Turlock Independence Celebration Parade and Car Show with a street fair in downtown Turlock on July 3. The Saturday event will be hosted by Turlock Downtown Property Owners' Association and American Legion Rex Ish Post 88. The opening ceremonies will start at 9:30 a.m., and the parade will start at 10 a.m. The car show and fair will continue until 5 p.m.
Atwater will have the only fireworks show in the area on July 4. The celebration, which will be sponsored by the Atwater 4th of July committee, will start with a parade at Ralston Park in Atwater. A concert and fireworks show will follow at Buhach Colony High School at 7 p.m. Greg McDaniel, a member of the Atwater 4th of July Committee, said that fireworks alone cost around $16,000 each year. The whole celebration costs $26,000 and is sponsored through private donations and local businesses. The event is free to the public, except for a $5 parking fee at Buhach Colony High School.
“Typically, we're the best kept secret around,” McDaniel said.
Last year the show brought an estimated 40,000 people to Atwater. McDaniel expects to see more visitors this year, because Turlock, Livingston and Merced have all canceled their fireworks shows.
Modesto will celebrate Independence Day with a parade and festival sponsored by Modesto Junior College, but they will not host a fireworks show. The Modesto Nuts baseball team will host a 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular for all guests at their game against Bakersfield on July 3.
For More information about the Turlock Independence Celebration Parade and Car Show, visit www.facebook.com/independencecelebration. For more information about the Atwater 4th of July Celebration, visit www.atwater4thofjuly.com. Both events are still accepting vendor booth applications and parade entries.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.