Wednesday is the Fourth of July, and today's column is about the places people in Sacramento can celebrate with fireworks.
Pyrotechnics have been part of our nation's Independence Day celebration since July 4, 1777. A year after the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia celebrated with "bonfires, bells and fireworks," according to a history of the holiday compiled by the Public Broadcasting Service.
The custom spread across the land. Fourth of July fever intensified after the War of 1812. Today, more than 14,000 fireworks shows light the skies on the Fourth, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.
Americans like their fireworks. They also like a long weekend. And with the Fourth landing in the middle of the week this year, many people are stretching the concept.
AAA predicts more than 4.8 million Californians will travel this holiday, the largest number since 2003 and a 5.2 percent increase over last year.
The automobile club said 54 percent of those surveyed planned to take off from work Friday and every day this week for the holiday.
Mary Lynne Vellinga
Get set for fireworks, neighborhood fun
There's no shortage of Fourth of July celebrations in Sacramento, and you can never go wrong with the region's granddaddies.
There's the "Pyrospectacular" at Cal Expo, boasting the area's largest fireworks display; Elk Grove Regional Park's salute to national independence, which draws about 20,000 people a year; and the River Cats' annual fete in West Sacramento, which offers baseball and fireworks on Tuesday.
The annual "4th of July 5-miler" in River Park is the oldest running event in Sacramento. The five-mile fun run in River Park, hosted by the Buffalo Chips Running Club, is in its 36th year. The free event starts with a kids' half-mile race (ages 10 and younger) at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday at Glen Hall Park at the corner of Carlson and Sandburg drives. Fifteen minutes later, the starting gun for the main race goes off. This year, Buffalo Chips is asking participants to consider donating a dollar or two to help keep the neighborhood pool open. With morning parades in east Sacramento, Carmichael and Arden Arcade, among other communities, residents throughout the region have shown you don't have to wait until nightfall to pay tribute to the red, white and blue.
Fireworks Jubilee at El Dorado Hills center
The third annual event offers bands performing from 6-8 p.m. followed by a fireworks display. Parking is available at Blue Shield with shuttle buses running consistently beginning at 5 p.m. El Dorado Hills Town Center, Latrobe Road and Town Center Boulevard, El Dorado Hills. (916) 933-6699. www.eldoradohillstowncenter.com.
Celebrate at Raley Field with the River Cats
Enjoy Independence Day a day early with the River Cats (vs. Colorado Springs Sky Sox). The special All-American Barbecue ticket package includes a pregame barbecue beginning at 5:30 p.m. (tri-tip, hamburgers, Raley Field hot dogs, three sides and one drink ticket) and a ticket to the game (adult tickets are $36; tickets for children ages 12 and younger are $32). Plus, the first 2,500 fans receive an American flag presented by U.S. Army. The evening tops off with a fireworks extravaganza. Raley Field, 400 Ballpark Drive, West Sacramento. $8-$55. (800) 745-3000.
Country concert at Folsom Rodeo
The Stars and Stripes Country Concert (6 p.m.) features Jason Michael Carroll and the Farm, followed by a fireworks show (tickets are $15 general, free for children ages 4 and younger). 6 p.m. Dan Russell Rodeo Arena, 200 Stafford St., Folsom. (916) 985-2698; www.folsomprorodeo.com
Fireworks show at Rancho Cordova park
Carnival rides, free concerts and fireworks at the Rancho Cordova Fourth of July. Open from 4 to 11 p.m. Tuesday, with the band Hip Service at 8 p.m., followed by a fireworks minishow. On Wednesday, there will be a parade at 10 a.m., all-day carnival and festival, plus a fireworks spectacular. Free Kids' Zone. Hagan Park, 2197 Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova. $2 admission, $10 parking. (916) 273-5704. www.ranchocordovajuly4th.com.
Picnic, pops concert in Grass Valley
Annual patriotic Picnic and Pops concert. 7:30 p.m. Nevada County Fairgrounds, 11228 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley. $20. (530) 265-6124.
Lions Club hosts Jackson celebration
The Jackson Lions Club will hold its celebration at the Butte Bowl at Jackson Junior High School, 747 Sutter St. Festivities begin at 5 p.m., fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. Free. (209) 223-0350.
A red, white and blue salute in Elk Grove
The city of Elk Grove hosts the 16th annual Salute to the Red, White and Blue fireworks show, with live music and food. Festivities begin at 6 p.m., fireworks are at 9:30 p.m. Blankets and picnics are encouraged. Elk Grove Regional Park, 9950 Elk Grove Florin Road, Elk Grove. Free admission; $10 for parking. (916) 691-2489. www.elkgrovecity.org
Annual parade begins Carmichael festivities
The 54th annual Carmichael Elk's Club parade steps off at 10:30 a.m. at Marconi and Fair Oaks, and continues to Cypress and Manzanita, with the grandstand across the street from Carmichael Park (5750 Grant Ave.) Bring your blankets or lawn chairs for festivities beginning at 7 p.m. at La Sierra Community Center (5325 Engle Road). Annual fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. (916) 485-5322.
Free noon concert in Roseville's Royer Park
The Capitol Pops Concert Band will perform patriotic anthems at noon at Royer Park, 110 Park Drive, Roseville. Free. (916) 967-1461.
Full day of festivities is set at Lodi Lake
Activities throughout the day with live music from 2 to 6 p.m., and fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Lodi Lake Park, 1101 W. Turner Road, Lodi. (209) 333-6742.
Foresthill offers beach party theme
Themed "Beach Party 2012," with a parade at 10 a.m. on Main Street to include floats, classic cars, group marchers, horses. The Foresthill Park Celebration will feature the American Legion Pig-Roast barbecue, children's games, horseshoe competition and homemade pies. Foresthill Memorial Park. Free. (530) 367-2474. www.foresthillchamber.org
Music, grandstand fireworks at Cal Expo
The Independence Day celebration at the Miller Lite Grandstand (East Gate) offers activities featuring live music with Two Steps Down (country) at 6 p.m., Todd Morgan and the Emblems ('50s rock 'n' roll and pop rock) at 7 p.m. and Kattywompus (rock 'n' roll) at 8 p.m.; an appearance by Poppy, the State Fair mascot; and the grand fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. Starts at 6 p.m. at Cal Expo, 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento. Free; $10 reserved seats; $10 parking. (916) 263-3247.
Parade, family fun in Nevada City
Nevada City's parade begins at 2 p.m. on Main Street, followed by a family celebration at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, featuring live entertainment, and a fireworks spectacular blasting off at 9:30 p.m. Fairgrounds gates open at 3 p.m. and entertainment begins at 4 p.m. $8 general, free for children ages 12 and younger. Nevada County Fairgrounds, 11228 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley. (530) 273-4667.
Music and dancing at El Dorado Fairgrounds
The annual Fourth of July event will offer hay mazes, games, and arts and crafts. Gates open at 4 p.m., live music and dancing starts at 6 p.m. Fireworks top off the event. El Dorado Fairgrounds, 100 Placerville Drive, Placerville. $3 general; free for ages 6 and younger; $5 parking; $15 package includes parking and admission for up to six people. (530) 621-6860.
North Lake Tahoe area details celebrations
Tahoe City hosts its fireworks show at Commons Beach at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. In Truckee, the free Fourth of July Parade at 10 a.m. Wednesday will be held along Donner Pass Road, ending in historic downtown. The Fourth of July fireworks is at dusk Wednesday at West End Beach at Donner Lake. (530) 546-9000. www.gottahoenorth.com.