Once upon a time, Santa Monica’s Fourth of July
fireworks were legendary. They were shot off the
the beach, and they were glorious, dazzling, overwhelming — as well as legendary –- everything we want great fireworks to be. People came from all over Southern California to see them, and came every Fourth of July.

But the City didn’t like them. The town filled up early. By mid-afternoon, driving in downtown Santa Monica was impossible. Crowds, throngs of happy people gathered in Palisades Park and on the beach. There was some drinking, of course. And inevitably some incidents.

After a number of years and incidents, the City moved the fireworks from the evening of the Fourth of July to dawn of the Fourth. They called it “Dawn’s Early Light,” and added an orchestra, which played on the Santa Monica Pier. It was still great, but not as great as it had been at night. Still, throngs came, filled up the town. And there was still drinking – more actually, as some stout people drank all night. But, after a shooting on the Pier, the City cancelled the fireworks.

Residents and visitors were disconsolate, but
the City was adamant. That was some years ago, but people remembered them, and we still get calls about them every year.

For some time, Santa Monica College has held the fireworks show in Corsair Field – but not on the Fourth. This year, the 30th anniversary of “Celebrate America” will be held on June 30. In addition to fireworks. the rock and blues band, Chris Mulkey n’ Deluxe, a regular at the House of Blues, will perform, and there will be community service booths, food trucks and food booths operated by the Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Club of Santa Monica and the SMC Athletics Department. Picnicking is welcome, but alcoholic beverages, glass containers, barbecues, fireworks and chairs with pointed legs are prohibited. The college is at 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica.

Gates open at 5 p.m., with entertainment at 6:45 p.m. and the fireworks at 9 p.m. The event is free and parking is $5. Call (310) 434-3001.

Sponsors of the event are SMC and the City of Santa Monica, the SMC Associated Students and Bourget Brothers Building Materials in Santa Monica.

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