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Independence Day Fireworks to Light up Sky Saturday

By Lookout Staff

June 30 -- Prepare for a blast at Santa Monica College Saturday, as the traditional Independence Day fireworks kick off early again this year at Corsair Field.

The popular outdoor festival -- dubbed “Celebrate America” -- is free, although donations are welcome. The festival will feature grassroots American music by the Dixieland band Main Street and the rhythm-and-blues group JD Hall & the JD Hall Band.

Attendees may bring picnic dinners or purchase food from one of the many vendors who line the filed. Alcoholic beverages, glass containers, barbecues and fireworks are prohibited.

Gates to the field, on 16th Street and Pico Boulevard, will open at 5 p.m. Parking is $5. Entertainment starts at 6 p.m., and the fireworks -- by Pyro Spectaculars -- will be at dusk.

Santa Monica College has been hosting fireworks for 22 years, and for over a decade the college’s celebration has been Santa Monica’s sole fireworks display.

The City’s evening fireworks display at the Pier, which drew hundreds of thousands of spectators from Santa Monica and surrounding communities, were scrapped in the late 1980s due to traffic and safety concerns.

In 1990, and the City began holding a "Dawn's Early Light" celebration at 4:45 am in hopes that the early hour would result in a thinner crowd. The plan, however, backfired when Dawn's Early Light drew 250,000 people in 1991 and necessitated full deployment of police and fire forces for two days.

In 1992, faced with a celebration that would cost nearly $100,000 and clog the city's streets with traffic, the City Council decided to shelve the fireworks altogether in favor of a small afternoon celebration in Palisades Park.

For years, the council co-sponsored the college's fireworks and limited the City's celebration to afternoon park festivities. Now the park festival has been dismantled, and the City's only role in Fourth of July celebrations is its financial contribution to the event at the college.

For information about Saturday’s event, call (310) 434-3000.

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