Martinez to celebrate nation’s birthday with parade, fireworks show

MARTINEZ, Calif. – Martinez will join in the national celebration of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776, with a community breakfast, a flag raising, a downtown parade and at dark, a fireworks show.

Activities begin with a pancake breakfast, which will be served from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Wednesday by Roxx on Main, 627 Main St.

Veterans will raise the flag in a ceremony starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Veterans memorial Building, 930 Ward St.

The 11th annual Fourth of July Hometown Parade, which will go down Main Street, will start at Court Street and end at Alhambra Avenue.

About 3,000 residents and visitors are expected to flock to the downtown area to line up on Main Street to get a view of the 40 entrants in the holiday procession that is being organized by Main Street Martinez.

Also part of the parade is the children’s Decorated Bicycle Parade. The youngsters will meet at the beginning of the parade and participate as a group, and each child will receive an award.

Awards to the young bicycle riders as well as for parade entrants will be given immediately after the parade.

But the fun doesn’t end there.

After the parade, the crowds can stroll through rows of arts and crafts vendors and non-profit organizations’ booths, see a car show, listen to music or help their children participate in activities specifically designed for the younger set.

Another highlight of the holiday is the Martinez fireworks display, a tradition that has been going on nonstop for more than 30 years, Recreation Supervisor Patty Lorick said.

She is urging those who plan to come downtown for the fireworks show to leave their cars in the downtown area, where parking will be free for the day, because the park will be closed to vehicles at 6 p.m.

They can stroll to Radke Martinez Seashore Park to pick a viewing area no later than 9:15 p.m. Wednesday. Lorick said anywhere along the shoreline park should provide a good view.

Another option is to find a hillside site, from where people can see Martinez’s display as well as those in Benicia, American Canyon and possibly Vallejo, she said. Some Martinez residents have discovered their yards give them an excellent view, she said. “Some people have viewing parties for the Fourth of July,” she said.

The fireworks show is a production of Pyro Spectaculars by Souza, which has presented the show for several years with an eye toward safety as well as spectacle, Lorick said. “They do a fabulous job,” she said.

Spectators can bring chairs, blankets and food into the park, but according to East Bay Regional Park District rules, they may not bring in alcohol.

She also asked that spectators heed any police tape barriers set up for their own safety, and to clean up any trash they bring in. “We don’t want anyone injured. We want them to leave with big, smiling faces,” she said.

People may leave trash in one of the park’s receptacles or take it home for disposal. Not only would it give city employees a bit of a break from the day-long cleanup that often is required the next day, but it would help prevent trash from harming any wildlife or getting into the waterway.

“Be kind,” she said.

Lorick called the fireworks show “a gift from the city,” and Martinez is picking up the bulk of the cost. However, five sponsors also are helping defray the costs. They are Shell Oil Martinez, S&S Supplies and Solutions, Marin Clean Energy (MCE) Waters Moving and Storage and Republic Services.

The show is expected to last about 25 minutes, although it could run longer, Lorick said. In addition, Benicia’s fireworks show starts a little earlier – a preview for the Martinez production.

Private igniting of fireworks of any type is illegal not only in Martinez but also in Contra Costa County, and that includes the “safe and sane” fireworks, such as sparklers, according to Martinez Police and the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office.

Fireworks bought in areas where they are legal are still illegal to use here, and those violating the law could be cited or arrested.

Besides, Lorick said, they are not safe. ‘Our guys know what they’re doing,” she said, explaining that the city’s show will be attended by Contra Costa County and East Bay Regional Park District firefighters and a fire marshal.

“When people start shooting off fireworks on their own, they lose fingers, eyes and body parts. Leave it to the professionals,” she said.

Martinez Fourth of July activities start at 8 a.m. Wednesday with breakfast at Roxx on Main, 627 Main St. The flag raising will be at 8:30 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Building, 930 Ward St. The Hometown Parade on Main Street starts at 10 a.m. Fireworks at Radke Martinez Seashore Park on Ferry Street on the Martinez Waterfront start at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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