By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Turlock prepares for patriotic Fourth
4th of july parade 2017
Grace Cavanaugh holds her torch high as Lady Liberty while riding on a float during the 2017 Downtown Turlock Fourth of July parade. The 2018 Independence Day parade will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday down Main Street. - photo by File Photo

From Turlock’s American flag corridors around town to its 1,000 Flag Initiative, it’s no secret that the city has a passion for patriotism, making the fast-approaching 4th of July celebration one of the most anticipated — and well-attended — events of the year.

This year’s Independence Day activities in Turlock will start downtown with a parade, car show and street faire, and will conclude with a bang at Stanislaus State with free kids’ activities and a spectacular fireworks show.

The theme of the Downtown Turlock 4th of July Parade is “Courage, Honor, Sacrifice,” meant to highlight the many veterans and those on active duty who call Turlock home. Cars holding veterans from Turlock’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5059 and the American Legion Rex Ish Post 88 – which is turning 100 years old this year — will be the main attraction, Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association Executive Director Molly Amant said, in addition to other community floats that have signed up to participate.

“I think that Turlock is very patriotic,” Amant said. “The respect for our military in our town is huge, and we just want to highlight what we have in that area every year, both active and veteran.”

Activities will begin in downtown Turlock at 10 a.m. July 4 with the parade down Main Street. Following the parade, there will be a car show and street faire until 3 p.m. Food trucks like Fancy Frost, The Tri-Tipery and Krepe Dog will be on hand to keep attendees cool and full as they check out a show featuring all types of vehicles. Special awards will be presented following the car show for the Mayor’s Choice, City Council Member’s Choice, Fire Chief’s Choice and Police Chief’s Choice, among others.

To be honored in the parade this year are Turlock veteran and retired U.S. Navy Commander Burt Gilpin, who turned 90 years old this year, as well as Grand Marshals of the parade, Jeani and John Ferrari.

“Typically, we try to find a veteran to be the Grand Marshal, but we decided this year that we have quite a few people who do so much for the community that we should honor them, too,” Amant said. “Who better than the Ferraris who have given to the community countless times, whether it be to the Carnegie Arts Center, the Turlock Gospel Mission or the revitalization of downtown Turlock?”

Stan State fireworks
Stanislaus State once again partnered with the City of Turlock to host an Independence Day fireworks show on July 4. - photo by Contributed

The festivities will continue into the night at the Stanislaus State campus, where the university is continuing its tradition of partnering with the City of Turlock to host a fireworks celebration for the fourth consecutive year. There was a question as to whether or not the show would happen this year, as the university was struggling with funding the event in the midst of statewide budget cuts, but the Turlock City Council voted at the end of April to commit City funds to pay for the fireworks.

Even with the City’s funding, Stanislaus State has been working to raise funds to help carry their share of the load. So far, the fundraising website ( has raised just over $3,000 of its $25,000 goal. According to Brian VanderBeek of Stan State’s Communications and Public Affairs office, the show will go on regardless if enough funds are raised or not, but the university is still accepting donations to help offset costs.

The fun at the campus will begin at 7 p.m. with free kids’ activities and food vendors, and the fireworks show will begin at 9:30 p.m. The best viewing of the show is at Pergola Meadows and while picnics are welcome, there are no barbecues, alcohol, glass or personal fireworks allowed.

Those who can’t wait until next Wednesday to celebrate the nation’s independence are in luck, as there are other 4th of July events taking place this weekend.

The Hilmar Dairy and Farm Festival will take place June 30 at the Hilmar High School football field, 7807 Lander Ave. The event is free and opens at 5 p.m. with food and craft vendors, and a fireworks show will cap off the night as soon as the sun goes down.

In Livingston, the town’s annual three-day Independence Day Festival will take place June 29-July 1. Leading up to Sunday’s fireworks show are concerts featuring artists Frankie J and Joe Cooley, and Lupillo Rivera and Banda Los Sebastianes that will take place at 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday for $10 and $15, respectively.

On Sunday, a free show will be put on at 5 p.m. by Livingston natives the Rhythm Blenders, followed by a fireworks show at dusk. Vendors and activities will be available for attendees as well, and the celebration will take place at the Max Foster Sport Complex, 2600 Walnut Ave., in Livingston.