Fireworks from SeaWorld over Mission Bay as seen from Crown Point Park. / Photo by Thomas Melville
Fourth of July is all about fireworks, and residents and visitors alike to Mission and Pacific beaches are fortunate in that they have their choice being situated at the “epicenter” of three dazzling local displays: off Ocean Beach Pier, in La Jolla Cove and at SeaWorld San Diego.
San Diego beaches are packed with people on the three key summer holiday weekends — Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day — with July 4th typically being the busiest of all with nearly one million people expected to hit the beaches.
But after a day of fun in the sun, once the waves have been conquered and the barbecues dinners have been devoured, it’s time for pyrotechnics.
At which time, coastal residents and guests can please their patriotic palates with pyrotechnics from Point Loma to La Jolla.
SeaWorld San Diego has nightly fireworks on numerous evenings throughout the summer. But July 4 is special, as the theme park hosts its “Independence Day Fireworks Spectacular,” offering an extended pyrotechnic display over Mission Bay set to patriotic music commencing at 10:10 p.m. with fireworks set to go off at 10:30 p.m. and last approximately 17 minutes.
The best places to watch are Crown Point Park, Ski Beach, and Fiesta Island.
Ocean Beach’s spectacular fireworks display at 9 p.m. is the community’s official kick-off to summer. Free parking is offered at both the main beach and pier parking lots.
Spend the day picnicking with family and friends, swimming in the ocean, walking and playing in the sand and shopping along Newport Avenue. Then bundle up as the sun sets and pull up a chair for a spectacular fireworks show from the OB Pier. And don't forget your radio so you can hear the fireworks soundtrack being broadcast simultaneously during the show.
Gone from OB Fourth fireworks in 2015 is the unregulated tradition of the “marshmallow war,” which had been fought after the fireworks show on the beach and streets leaving the community a sticky mess. In 2014, Ocean Beach Town Council, answering an overwhelming call from residents and merchants, responded with its successful “Mallow Out” campaign discouraging the marshmallow war, which led to a 90 percent reduction in the goo.
There’s no question that the 30th annual Fourth of July fireworks show in La Jolla Cove is a go this year. But there almost wasn’t a 29th annual celebration, as the display was cancelled — then saved — at the 11th hour in 2014. Subject to on-again, off-again flaps over donations and environmental concerns the past several years, all of that is in the rear-view mirror now as La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA), the community’s Business Improvement District (BID), has taken the special event under its wing.
“David Marino of Hughes Marino, a La Jollan who’s been a supporter for years, stepped in and helped me get annual commitments, around $45,000 or $46,000, to cover costs,” said Deborah Marengo, who’s organized and promoted the event since restaurateur George Hauer, who originated the display, stepped down a few years ago. “Now any extra money raised for the fireworks will be rolled over into the next year.”
Marengo said the 25-minute Cove fireworks display will start at 9 p.m.
Supporting sponsors for the La Jolla Cove Fireworks Display are Hughes Marino, George's at the Cove, La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, La Jolla Cove Suites, La Valencia Hotel, Willis Allen, Leo Loves Fireworks, J. Todd Figi, John Barbey and Steven Black.
A few other choices for fireworks on Independence Day:
• Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is hosting a free, old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Guests are encouraged to participate in the parade around the plaza reminiscent of the July 4th parades of early San Diego with music, animals, banners and people in historical costumes. There will be crafts, games, contests and informational demonstrations that represent the activities enjoyed in the 1800s. The stage will be filled with free entertainment such as historic dancing and early American music. Pie-eating contests begin at 3 pm. The event will end with a boom — literally. All of the museums will be open and, as always, free to the public.
• What better place is there to spend Independence Day than at the San Diego County Fair at 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. in Del Mar? Highlighting the day will be the traditional fireworks display at 9 p.m., which is visible throughout the Fairgrounds. The Grandstand schedule: 9:30 a.m. patriotic opening ceremony outside O’Brian Gate; 6:45 p.m., World Memorial Tribute to 9/11; 7 p.m., Hometown Heroes Parade; 7:30 p.m., Navy Band Southwest; and 9 p.m. fireworks; 9:30 p.m., Dana Carvey performs on the Grandstand Stage.
• Another prime spot to celebrate the Fourth of July will be at the Maritime Museum of San Diego again this year. The observation deck of the museum’s historic 1898 steam ferry Berkeley provides a spectacular view of the fireworks show over San Diego Bay. A delicious BBQ dinner will be provided at two seatings from 5-6:30 p.m. and 7-8:30 p.m. Fireworks viewing are included with museum admission. For more information and reservations call 619-234-9153 ext. 101 or visit www.sdmaritime.org.
• The annual Big Bay Boom launches fireworks from four barges and can be seen from multiple locations along San Diego Bay, including Harbor Island, Shelter Island, the Embarcadero area, and the Seaport Village/Coronado landing starting at 9 p.m.
• Oscar- and Emmy Award-winning conductor Bill Conti will lead the Star Spangled Pops in a San Diego Symphony concert of all-American hits, followed by a military tribute and a fireworks display at Embarcadero Marina Park South
starting at 7:30 p.m.