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Santa Monica College Cancels 28th Annual Fireworks Display

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Jorge Casuso

June 15, 2020 -- For the first time since 1991, Santa Monica will not hold an Independence Day fireworks display this year as a result to the ongoing coronavirus emergency.

On Monday, Santa Monica College (SMC) officials announced they had canceled the school's 28th Annual “Celebrate America” event "due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions of large-scale, in-person events."

The popular community picnic and fireworks spectacular -- which draws thousands of residents to Corsair Field every year -- had been scheduled for Saturday, June 27.

“It is particularly disappointing that Celebrate America had to be canceled this year, at a time when we at Santa Monica College would love to gather with our community,” said Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery, SMC Superintendent/President.

“We look forward to future occasions, when we may celebrate with confidence, to host events safely," Jeffery said.

This month's event would have been the 28th fireworks display hosted by the college after the City scrapped its "Dawn's Early Light" celebration in 1992.

The previous year saw a crowd of some 250,000 descend on the pier and beach for the 4:45 a.m. celebration, requiring the full deployment of police and fire forces for two days.

The City had initiated the early morning fireworks display in 1990 hoping to draw thinner crowds after the evening fireworks at the Pier drew hundreds of thousands of spectators in the late 1980s.

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.

The following year, Santa Monica College began hosting the fireworks display.

“I can’t predict when events like Celebrate America will be allowed to resume, or when folks will begin to feel comfortable in crowds again,” said Linda Sullivan, SMC Event Producer and Associate Dean of Facilities Programming.

“But when they do, they will be greeted with the greatest enthusiasm,” Sullivan said.

SMC campuses are expected to remain closed for the remainder of the year, with classes and student support services delivered online.

Several events that can be presented in virtual formats are also being planned, including free, live Drescher Planetarium shows; the live opening of the SMC Emeritus Student Art Exhibition and SMC’s 90th Commencement Ceremony on June 26.

Additional upcoming events will be posted at

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