Your Fourth of July fireworks guide for the Bay Area

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American skies will be clouded in a red, white and blue haze this Independence Day, and ours in the Golden State are no exception. The launching of fireworks is a quintessential tradition, started by none other than Founding Father John Adams himself. In lieu of his hope for “Illuminations from One End of this Continent to the Other” (or Katy Perry’s insistence to “let it shine”), we at the Daily Clog have composed a list of the coolest places to view fireworks in person this Fourth of July in the Bay Area:

1) Berkeley: Fourth of July at the Berkeley Marina. Ensuring a splashing good time, the Fourth of July on the Berkeley Marina will host giant slides, bubble ball rides and, for the adventurous, free dragon boat rowing. Need a little pizzazz? Magicians and jugglers await you at the the Buddy Club Stage. Hear the steel drums? Sing to the sounds of the Caribbean, or bounce to the Brazilian beat with the United Capoeira Association. Starving? Food trucks will be racing toward Berkeley for this international foodie event. For everyone else, try a pony ride, bungee jump off a trampoline or get a therapeutic massage. From carnival rides to live musical performances, Berkeley is where the party is at! Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m.

2) San Francisco: Fourth of July celebration at the pier. Famous for its sleepy population of sea lions and retinue of marine-life themed stores, Pier 39 in San Francisco will host its own Independence Day celebration with musical performances from the world’s only socially-conscious rock band of 10-year-olds, WJM, and the back-to-the-’80s Tainted Love Band. For the kids, drop them off at the magical Smurf Village at Pier 39’s East Park. Then, gaze over the San Francisco Bay for one of the country’s most elaborate fireworks displays, starting at 9:30 p.m.

3) Antioch: July Fourth celebration. Celebrating their historic rivertown, Antioch residents will enjoy a car show and city parade this Fourth of July. With kid-friendly play zones and plenty of entertainment, the festivities come to a sensational end with the city’s one-of-a-kind riverside fireworks show. Fireworks start at dusk.

4) Milpitas: “Red, White and Boom” At the Milpitas Sports Center Complex, the public is invited to a citywide pool party with water games and food. In the evening, a concert by the seven-piece Retromaniax will provide a 60-year journey through American music. Fireworks will explode in the sky shortly thereafter at 9:15 p.m.

5) San Jose: Rose, White and Blue Parade and fireworks after the San Jose Giants. In the capital of the Silicon Valley, celebrations will be nostalgic. Along the Alameda, the old-fashioned “hometown-style” Rose, White and Blue Parade features antique cars, homemade floats and military promenades. Want to see the perfect pitch? At the Municipal Stadium, fans of the San Jose Giants are treated to a special July Fourth “fireworks extravaganza” after their game against the Visalia Rawhides. Fireworks start immediately following the game.

6) San Rafael: Marin County Fair. The nearly week-long “Greenest County Fair on Earth” debuts with the musical shenanigans of “Weird Al” Yankovic on July 3. From carnival rides to the acrobatics of the Chinese Circus of Beijing, the Marin County Fair is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. And game on! With an extensive list of competitions, including food preservation and horticulture, the fair cultivates the inner competitor like no other. Be sure to check out a screening at the International Marin Film Festival. Finally, stay late to see a fireworks show each and every day, starting at 9:30 p.m.

7) Santa Clara: Fourth of July Fireworks Extravaganza Show. Residents of Santa Clara are asked to bring a lawn chair or blanket for optimal lounging in Central Park. Live performances feature the Buscher Middle School Jazz Band and the soul-inspired Groove Kinds. For hungry Santa Clarans, Food Truck Row will offer numerous sampling opportunities in global fare. The Fireworks Extravaganza starts at 9:30 p.m.

8) Martinez: 4th of July parade. The smallest city in the list packs a surprisingly celebratory July Fourth observation. Residents begin with a community pancake breakfast before heading off to the hometown parade. This year’s theme features kid-decorated bikes being flanked by mounted police and cheerleaders. Along with youth-made floats, the city’s cheer will be captivated by a flashy fireworks display near Waterfront Park. Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m.

9) Palo Alto: Summer Festival & Chili Cook-Off and fireworks at EcoCenter Baylands. Love the spice of summer? Check out Palo Alto’s festival for sun and chili lovers. Alongside live music, kiddie rides and face painting, teams of chefs battle the heat in a blistering chili championship. Too hot for you to handle? Volunteers at the EcoCenter in the Palo Alto Baylands have put on a fireworks display. The Baylands, one of the last marshes in the San Francisco Bay, offers a pristine natural setting with which to view the show. Fireworks start at 9 p.m.

10) Alameda: Celebrate July Fourth on the USS Hornet. To truly experience a Fourth of July like no other, hop aboard the USS Hornet, a retired aircraft carrier that saw action in World War II and the Apollo space missions. Now a museum, the ship boasts war memorabilia and artifacts from the moon missions in its carefully displayed exhibits. On Independence Day, the USS Hornet offers kid-friendly rides in a flight simulator, jump house and inflatable slide. Along with food and live entertainment, including a barbershop quartet, the ship offers panoramic views of fireworks from around the Bay Area on the flight deck. Fireworks start at 9:15 p.m.

And of course, stay safe. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are more fires on July Fourth than on any other day in the United States. The Consumer Protection Safety Commission reports that almost 30 percent of fireworks-related injuries happen to children under the age of 15. Finally, California’s fireworks laws are complicated, so be sure to check your local community for its latest health and safety codes.

Happy 237th birthday, America! Let those colors burst!

Image source: D.H. Parks under Creative Commons.

Contact Alex Mabanta at [email protected]