A Full Day and Night of Fun Coming July 4, 2006

Editorial from The Signal

Sunday, June 18, 2006

f there's one thing the residents of the Santa Clarita Valley really know how to do well, it's celebrate the Fourth of July.
    For 75 years, the community has paraded through the streets of Newhall to mark the nation's birth. Sure, things have changed a bit since 1932 when the Santa Clarita Fourth of July Parade became an annual event (for one thing, there was no "Santa Clarita" then), but things have changed more in size than in spirit.
    The Fourth of July Parade is still the one place above all where everyone comes together — Democrats and Republicans, environmentalists and politicians, church groups, military units, kids, dogs, horses, car clubs — to celebrate community and country and to have a good time.
    This year, an estimated 25,000 people will line San Fernando Road, Lyons Avenue and Orchard Village Road on Tuesday, July 4, to watch a "snapshot" of Santa Clarita pass right by them.
    The main event kicks off at 9:45 a.m., but you'll want to arrive early because the festivities actually begin at 7 a.m. when Newhall Rotary Club members start flipping the flapjacks at the Roger Dunn Golf shop on San Fernando Road. Then, immediately before the parade, the Santa Clarita Runners will host a 5-K Run starting at Newhall Park at 9 a.m., preceded by a Kids Run at 8:30.
    True to its home-town form, anyone can be in the parade. Boy Scout troop? Great. Brownies? You bet. Moms Club? Yup. What if your kid just wants to ride his or her bike and doesn't belong to an organization? No problem.
    The only catch is, the Santa Clarita Parade Committee — the nonprofit group of volunteers who organize the event each year — must receive your entry form by June 27. Forms can be downloaded from the Internet at scvparade.com. (Be sure to read the "FAQs," aka Frequently Asked Questions.)
    The big thing that's different in 2006 is the concert.
    It's right after the parade at Newhall Park, from noon till 2 p.m.
    You won't want to miss it.
    The band is L.A. Carpool, and whether you call it salsa or jazz or rock, it's HOT. Imagine mixing Carlos Santana and Steely Dan with a sizzling horn section. Overlay it with English lyrics and Spanish background vocals, put a Cuban rhythm behind it.
    Hosted by the Parade Committee, the concert is sponsored by The Signal and Santa Clarita Valley Living magazine, and if you'd like an idea of what you're in for, you can sample some of the original music online at scvparade.com.
    Food and nonalcoholic drinks will be available in the park, so you can plan a picnic without needing to bring the "fixings" from home.
    From there, the official July Fourth event calendar gives you time off for a late-afternoon nap before things pick up again after dark
    Fireworks will be visible on the west side of town after 9:15 p.m. when the city of Santa Clarita shoots them off from the roof of one of the Westfield Valencia Town Center parking structures. (There is no "on the ground" event at the mall at night.)
    Stevenson Ranch will host its annual fireworks show around the same time, and this year, the event will be the one and only time and place for west-side residents to cast a vote for the West Ranch Town Council.
    Fireworks will be visible over Magic Mountain, as they are every night in summer — but more so on the Fourth. And then there's the big show at Castaic Lake, where admission is charged.
    One word of caution from the Los Angeles County Fire Department and Sheriff's Department: Leave the fireworks to the professionals. Whether you live in the city or the unincorporated county, all types of fireworks — from big bottle rockets to little sparklers — are illegal and dangerous. The authorities will be on the lookout.
    And remember, if you're going to the parade, be sure to leave the Silly String and Super Soakers at home. You can "possess" them, but under a city ordinance that the Sheriff's Department will enforce, you can't shoot them into the line of march. They ruin antique cars and spook the horses.
    Play it straight and you're guaranteed to have a great time.

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