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SAN DIEGO – This long holiday weekend San Diegans will gather at parks, beaches and homes of friends and loved ones for barbecues, drinks and to celebrate the 4th of July.
No holiday celebration is complete without an explosion of fireworks lighting up the night sky, and America’s Finest City never disappoints.
Simultaneously throughout the city and along San Diego’s coastline, fireworks will illuminate the skies on Monday, July 4, around 9 pm. So gather up a blanket or lawn chair, and secure your favorite viewing spot with the help of the official 2011 San Diego Gay & Lesbian News Fireworks Extravaganza Guide.
The most central fireworks displays
By far one of the most popular pyrotechnics displays in the entire county is the Big Bay Boom Fireworks Spectacular over the San Diego Bay.
Thousands of people will line the waterfront to witness four firework barges simultaneously light up the sky for more than 15 minutes to live music, broadcasted on 105.7 The Walrus FM radio.
The show begins at 9 pm and if you cannot attend, tune in for a live televised broadcast courtesy of San Diego Fox 5. Premium viewing spots include the public areas at Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Spanish Landing, Embarcadero Marina Parks North and South, Cesar Chavez Park and Coronado Tidelands Park.
In previous years, the Harbor Police has shut off traffic by 5 pm. So leave the car at home and use the free shuttle service to and from Shelter and Harbor Islands onboard the Old Town Trolley and Five Star Tours buses. This free service is available from 6 to 11 pm. Follow the link above for a complete list of drop-off and pick-up locations.
Fireworks displays launched from Imperial Beach and Ocean Beach piers will synchronize with the Big Bay Boom and each community has its own traditions.
Imperial Beach residents will start the celebration at 11 am with local bands paying tribute to America with country, jazz and a variety of musical tunes, until the start of the fireworks. Ocean Beach residents will wait until after the fireworks are over to begin their annual marshmallow fight.
For fireworks enthusiasts, the SeaWorld Fireworks Show is the perfect encore. It begins at 9:30 pm and is best viewed along the shores of Crown Point, Mission Bay and Sea World areas.
The San Diego County Fair closes July 4 with an all-day patriotic celebration. In addition to great rides and a plethora of food options, ticket holders also can enjoy a parade and live musical entertainment. The Navy Band Southwest will continue its tradition, established in 1993, and perform at the Heineken Grandstand Stage at 7:30 pm, followed by a fireworks display at 9 pm, visible from anywhere in the fairgrounds.
The “Red, White and BOOM!” celebration at Legoland blends patriotic music with a dazzling fireworks display at 8:30 pm. A good spot to celebrate with the kids, this party also includes live musical performances for children at 5:30 and 7:30 pm.
Additional fireworks displays
Although visible from several areas, including some residential homes, the locations listed below are where city officials will launch the fireworks. All firework displays will begin promptly at 9 pm.
Unique viewing spots and parades
The 4th of July commemorates one of our nation’s most important historic events, and on board the Maritime Museum is a great place for history buffs to celebrate in style.
With a museum admission, guests can watch the fireworks explode over San Diego Bay from several ships, including the new mooring platform located directly behind the historic 1898 Berkeley steam ferry.
Another alternative is the schooner Californian, which will leave port at 6:30 pm for the museum’s fireworks cruise. In addition to the full bar for passengers over 21, this is a unique chance to experience the power of the Californian’s six-pound deck guns that participate in the fireworks presentation. Tickets are $65 per passenger.
The 1914 Pilot boat will also allow passengers to view the fireworks while cruising the bay from 7:30 to 9:30 pm for just $25.
The Carnival on the USS Midway is another way to celebrate in historic style. Doors open at 6 pm and ticket holders will enjoy family activities, games, simulator rides, eating contest and live entertainment by N.R.G., a high energy show band.
Once the sun sets, attendees will gather on the USS Midway observation deck for the Big Bay Boom Fireworks Spectacular show. No alcohol is allowed, but lawn chairs, blankets, snacks and small coolers are permitted. Cost:$10 - $15.
If a parade bursting with traditional marching bands is your cup of tea, then check out the Coronado Independence Day Celebration. The all-day event begins at 7 am with 36th annual Independence Day Run, followed by the 52nd annual Rough Water Swim at 9 am, and the 63rd annual Independence Day Parade at 10 am.
A 4 pm concert at Spreckels Park, featuring the Coronado Community Concert Band, closes out the celebration, before attendees flock to Glorietta Bay park for the Big Bay Boom Fireworks Spectacular display.
Old Town Historic State Park also celebrates the old fashioned way with a weekend-long celebration that culminates on Monday with a free event from 11 am to 4 pm. The celebration features a parade, pie-eating contest, 1800s music and dance, a flag-raising ceremony and much more.
A newer neighborhood tradition takes place in South Park, where the third annual Neighborhood BBQ and Bicycle Bash brings together Alchemy, Hamilton’s Tavern, and Julian Hard Cider & Viva Pops with residents for a special event.
The three restaurants will provide specialty plates for $12 and cocktails for at various discounted prices from 11 am to 6 pm. Attendees can also take part in a bicycle-decorating contest (wagons, strollers, skateboards welcome) and parade, go bobbing for apples, pin the tail on the donkey, and enjoy live music. It all comes to an end with fireworks at Golden Hill Park.
Get out your red, white and blue - America's Finest City always celebrates in style!