There’s nothing wrong, of course, with big fireworks extravaganzas at Cal Expo, Raley Field and elsewhere.
But for many Sacramentans, the Fourth of July is about neighborhoods, and this year is no exception.
Starting Friday morning, many celebrated by keeping it local: kiddie parades, block parties, do-it-yourself sidewalk fireworks shows.
“It’s just that local feel,” said Shannon Young, the co-organizer of the 32nd annual Independence Day kids’ parade on Govan Way in Sacramento’s Land Park neighborhood. “People count on it.”
The Govan Way morning parade, a polyglot of hundreds of youngsters on bikes, scooters and parent-drawn wagons, has become one of Sacramento’s Independence Day traditions. Young said she participated in the first parade 32 years ago, when it consisted of a handful of kids. Now it’s morphed into an event that draws from several blocks around.
“It kind of took off every year,” Young said Friday morning as she supervised the laying out of doughnuts and coffee on a card table. “We have it down to a science.”
Co-organizer Erica Torre, who moved to Sacramento from San Francisco seven years ago, said she’s drawn to the sense of neighborliness the event generates.
“That sense of community that’s not in San Francisco, it’s so nice,” she said. “It’s good to keep it going.”
So it was throughout the region. Sacramento officials issued 44 permits for block parties throughout the city, three more than a year ago.
“It’s safe, the kids can play, we’re with our neighbors. It’s just the idea of everybody gathering,” said Debra Brown, who helped organize a block party on San Antonio Way in east Sacramento.
Among the amenities set for San Antonio Way: a bounce house, a potluck dinner and fireworks at dusk.
Experts say block parties and homegrown parades are more than just pleasant diversions on a holiday. They bring neigborhoods together and make them safer.
“They matter,” said Matt Peskin, coordinator of National Night Out, a Pennsylvania organization that promote block parties and other gatherings. “When people get to know each other, the neighborhood becomes a safer place. People are looking out for each other.”
In Sacramento’s Boulevard Park neighborhood, Rob Sperling helped organize the eighth annual Independence Day block party on 21st Street.
“It’s a real family event,” Sperling said. “This is an opportunity for all of us to get together and have a great time.”
The traditions on 21st Street include fireworks and a performance by Obsidian Butterfly, a fire-dance troupe.
“It is quite the show,” Sperling said.
• Photo gallery: Sacramento neighborhoods celebrate the Fourth
• Photo gallery: Fourth of July 2014 - Happy Birthday, America
• Flags, fireworks, fun: Fourth of July weekend events
• Sacramento law enforcement agencies gear up for holiday DUI patrols
• Why some fireworks aren’t ‘safe and sane’
Call The Bee’s Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.