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4th of July
We're looking for a small-town 4th of July fireworks experience (mom, dad, kids 5, 3, & infant). Bay area preferred, but willing to travel--Calistoga? Sonoma?... I've read the archives about parades, but found nothing about actual fireworks shows. We've been to the one in Moraga, which is fun & safe--easy parking, nice grassy hill to sit on; but the fireworks show itself is a bit short and measly for my pyrotechnics-loving husband. Anything comparable to the overall experience, but with a better show?
We will have a young visitor from Spain this July, and are looking for fun things to do on the weekends, etc. Since he'll be here for 4th of July, we are hoping to find a worthwhile fireworks show (we usually just go up on El Cerrito hill or somewhere to view fireworks at the bay.) Has anyone been to the fireworks show at Chrissy Field in SF? Any other fireworks shows around the greater bay area (or Tahoe?) that are good? I'm not a fan of crowds, and we have pre- teens, so we are seeking family friendly places. Thanks! patriotic
The problem is that you cannot go out on the hiway for hours after the show as it is so jammed with cars of folks trying to get back to their homes/hotels. So, I recommend that if you go to Tahoe, you stay somewhere where you can walk to the lake and not have to drive back afterwards. Sparkly
I've been to the waterfront show in SF and it really is a mob scene, but there are plenty of kids of all ages around; I wouldn't say it's not family friendly. I prefer going to Jack London Square in Oakland, which does a really nice show with musical accompaniment (some years it's been a radio simulcast, other years it's been a live orchestra performance), and doesn't involve so much travel time from my East Bay home. There is a street fair type event during the day beforehand, also, with some activities/attractions for kids. (We went last year with our then 2-year-old and a 10-year-old friend, and they enjoyed themselves.) It's possible to walk there, or take a shuttle, from the 12th Street BART station, so if you don't mind a bit of a walk you can avoid the traffic backups after the show. (The trains do get pretty crowded, though.) If you prefer to drive, you *can* find parking more easily than in SF, but it's still best to arrive early.
The Berkeley Marina is good if you'd rather watch less spectacular fireworks but be in a more laid-back and less crowded environment. The good viewing area is large, and the (smaller budget) show doesn't attract as many people as the SF and Oakland ones, so the crowds aren't so jam-packed during the fireworks themselves. Picnicking is usual, since it's harder to buy food there than at the SF or Oakland fairs; you might consider this a good thing if you'd rather avoid your kids begging for cotton candy! But do note that driving back out is a pain. They close the roads in the evening, so you can't leave early, and because, unlike the Jack London Square area, there are very limited routes in and out of the Marina and walking/public transit isn't as reasonable an option, the traffic backups are AWFUL after the show is over and everyone leaves at once. Bicycling might be a good choice. Holly
In my opinion, small town firework displays are almost always more fun than the big city ones. If I can't go to a small town for 4th of July fireworks, I've started going to the A's game that has fireworks a day or so before the 4th of July instead. They have a great display coordinated to patriotic music and let people in the stands onto the field to watch.
If showing your friend a traditional 4th of July celebration is the main reason you'd like to go to a more organized fireworks display rather than watching from the El Cerrito hills, why not spend the day at Ardenwood near Fremont? It's an East Bay Regional Park that is run as a turn of the century farm. They organize traditional games like egg tossing contests and gunny sack races, make homemade ice cream, have a brass band playing Sousa marches near the Victorian farmhouse (with tours of the house), give rides in a horse drawn sledge, and so much more. They have food you can buy but most people pack substantial picnics and haul them to the lawn near the house (a wagon is helpful if your cool chest doesn't have wheels). It won't give you fireworks coordinated to a local symphony or radio station music, but it sure is old- fashioned flag waving fun for people of all ages. It does cost to get into the park. --Fireworks Fanatic
Where are some great places (without a ton of traffic) to view the 4th of July fireworks? We have young children. Has anyone taken the Bart to Pier 39 to view the fireworks there? Is it a good idea? Please email me. Thanks harlan
Hello! I'm posting this messge for a friend whose 3 1/2 year old son was distressed by last year's Fourth of July fireworks. She'd like to take him to some Independence Day celebrations this year and hopes to prepare him by showing him videos with people enjoying (or at least not being harmed by) fireworks. But the only movies we could come up with that have such scenes are 1) The Three Musketeers and 2) the beginning of the old Wonderful World of Disney tv show. Can anyone recommend other videos with scenes that might help assuage a little person's fear of fireworks? Thanks! jg
Hi! We are looking for a 4th of July parade with lots of marching bands and exciting, entertaining entries. For the past three years we've been a bit disappointed with the Alameda Mayor's Parade as most of the entries are just cars with people waving, scarcely a band (much less marching) to be found. Can you recommend a parade within one hour's drive from Alameda for this event? Thanks! Stoneman
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