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"Celebrate America" Returns After 3-Year Hiatus

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Santa Monica College
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By Lookout Staff

June 20, 2023 -- Sidelined for three years by the COVID emergency, "Celebrate America" -- the city's only fireworks display marking the nation’s independence -- will return this year.

Billed as "the biggest, most sensational patriotic event on the Westside," the free celebration will take place July 1 at Corsair Field on Santa Monica College's (SMC) main campus, school officials announced Tuesday.

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A "dazzling fireworks show" by Rialto-based Pyro Spectaculars Entertainment will once again cap the annual festivities on the Saturday before the Fourth of July, officials said.

Eddie Jauregui will preside as Master of Ceremonies, with live performances that include the popular sounds of Westside Crew.

The event will feature community service booths, RS California Fusion Food Truck and 5 Elementos Food Truck, and food booths operated by Keith's Kettle Corn, Kai Kai Dumplings, What the Funnel, Pucker Up Lemonade and Mimi's Cotton Candy.

The SMC Zone will offer a place where guests can find out about the college -- from its academic and student support programs to its award-winning radio station KCRW (89.9 FM) and acclaimed performance venues.

Celebrate America Fireworks
Celebrate America fireworks display (Courtesy SMC)

"Picnicking is welcome, but alcoholic beverages, glass containers, barbecues, fireworks (including sparklers), and chairs with pointed legs are prohibited," SMC officials said.

The campus is a smoke free campus, so all smoking is prohibited, officials said.

The college became the sole venue for Santa Monica’s fireworks display 30 years ago, after hundreds of thousands of spectators flocked to the pier in the late 1980s and early 1990s for the City sponsored evening festivities.

In 1990, the fireworks celebration -- dubbed "Dawn's Early Light" -- was moved to 4:45 a.m. in hopes that the early hour would dwindle the crowds that prompted traffic and safety concerns.

But the following year, 250,000 people flocked to the pier, requiring the full deployment of police and fire forces for two days, leading the City to permanently scrap the popular pyrotechnical displays.

The following year, SMC began hosting Santa Monica's fireworks celebration.

Parking lots for this year's festivities open at 4 p.m. (enter at Pico Boulevard and 17th Street), and parking is $5.

The Corsair Field gates open at 5 p.m., with entertainment beginning at 6 p.m. The fireworks are scheduled at 9 p.m.

For safety, there will be no pre-show entry to parking lots after 8:15 p.m., or to Corsair Field after 8:45 p.m.

Celebrate America is presented by Santa Monica College and sponsored by SMC's Emeritus Program, Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica Fire Department and Associated Students of Santa Monica College.

Those who need an accommodation due to a disability, should email or call 310-434-4265 at least 5 business days prior to the event.

More details are available at the Celebrate America website (, by calling 310-434-3001, or by sending an email to requesting information.

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