Let the light show begin
July 3, 2012
You won’t have to venture far to stake out a perfect spot to celebrate the 4th of July this year. From Warner Center to Marina del Rey, and many communities in between, Los Angeles County will be lighting up the skies as the sun sets on Independence Day, 2012. Here are some of the options in and around the 3rd District for fireworks viewing, parades and more.
Marina del Rey
After a one-year, budget-induced hiatus, the Marina del Rey Fourth of July Fireworks Show is coming back in 2012.
Hosted by the L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors, the world-class display boasts 1,161 aerial fireworks. The holiday celebration is expected to attract about 25,000 landlubbers and thousands more on boats. In fact, the event has become so huge there is no longer enough room for a launching site.
“It is so big we have to put it out on a barge—we don’t have space for it on our jetties,” said Carol Baker, Chief of Community and Marketing Services for the Department of Beaches and Harbors.
The best vantage points to view the fireworks from land are Burton Chace Park, Fisherman’s Village and the beaches of Marina del Rey and Playa del Rey. The show starts at 9 p.m. on July 4. Parking is $7 to $10 in county lots or $1 for each 20 minutes at Fisherman’s Village.
In Studio City, the annual fireworks show comes with a full evening of festivities, including live music, barbeque, a kids’ fun zone, magicians and fully costumed pirates—available for photos and to “walk the plank” into the dunk tank.
The event takes place at CBS Studio Center from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on July 4. Tickets are available online, by calling (818) 655-5916 or at the Studio City Farmers Market, each Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. VIP tickets are also available with extras like rooftop viewing and a gourmet dinner.
The L.A. Phil will play patriotic favorites under the baton of Sarah Hicks, and Manilow will perform some of his 47 Billboard Top 40 hits—a number that includes such notables as “Copacabana” and “Looks Like We Made It.” The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets, which start at $15, are available online or by calling (323) 850-2999.
If you can’t wait till nightfall, Santa Monica’s annual parade starts at 9:30 a.m. “Science & Technology,” this year’s theme, seeks to honor the inventiveness of the founding fathers while highlighting the importance of technology to the local economy. After the parade, the celebration will continue along Main Street with live music, food and other entertainment.
The annual Pacific Palisades 4th of July Parade comes with a heap of star-studded history. Now in its 64th year, the parade has been led by the likes of Sir Anthony Hopkins and Chevy Chase. This year, the Grand Marshall is Jerry Mathers, of “Leave it to Beaver” fame.
At 1:50 p.m. on July 4, skydivers will mark the start of the day’s revelry, immediately followed by the parade at 2 p.m. The parade’s route moves down Sunset Boulevard from Via de la Paz to Drummond Street.
Later, as the sun sets, The English Beat (fronted by the Palisades’ own Dave Wakeling) will headline a family-friendly concert and fireworks at Palisades Charter High School. Tickets are $5 in advance or $6 the day of the event, and kids under 12 are free.
The annual July 4th Extravaganza in Woodland Hills is billed as the biggest Independence Day celebration in the San Fernando Valley. Live music starts in Warner Ranch Park at 6 p.m. and the fireworks begin at 9:08 p.m.
Families are the focus at the Calabasas July 4th Fireworks Spectacular, which offers a nightcap to a full day of summer fun including live music, a pet show, rides, crafts and games.
To get a jump on the kettle corn and sausages, attendees might consider taking part in the 35th annual Lakeside Fun Run, which begins at 7:45 a.m. A free Summer Splash Party starts at noon at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center, and the Fireworks Spectacular itself begins at 5 p.m. Tickets to the evening event are $10 and must be purchased in advance at Calabasas City Hall, the Tennis & Swim Center or Juan Bautista de Anza Park. See the event website for more details.
While Malibu has no officially-sanctioned display, Los Angeles County Fire Department permits several private displays to be launched offshore. This year, displays are permitted for Malibu Colony Road, and the 21500, 22300 and 27900 blocks of Pacific Coast Highway.
Leave the pyrotechnics to the pros. Fireworks are illegal in unincorporated Los Angeles County, bringing fines or even jail time to those who are caught with them, said Inspector Quvondo Johnson of the L.A. County Fire Department. Prohibitions are also in place in the City of L.A. and other area cities.
“We’re advising everyone to visit a professional show rather than just sitting at home and doing it yourself,” said Johnson.
Johnson recommends visiting the fireworks safety website sponsored by local public safety agencies and nonprofit groups. The site has a full list of sanctioned displays and sobering statistics on fireworks-related fires and injuries.