La Jolla Village Merchants Association has taken on the local Fourth of July fireworks display, which until now was beset with a litany of problems. PHOTO COURTESY PORT OF SAN DIEGO
There’s no question that the 30th annual Fourth of July fireworks show in La Jolla Cove is a go this year. But as you'll recall, that wasn’t true a year ago. Due to funding issues, the community’s 29th annual fireworks display in 2014 was cancelled — then saved — at the eleventh hour.
Several lawsuits had been filed in recent years challenging the city's permitting process for events, including those involving fireworks over water. In 2011, an environmental lawyer claimed that debris from the explosives harmed sea life in the La Jolla area. That case has since been settled.
Then there was the annual problem with collecting donations, which came dribbling in, to pay for the cost of staging the event. And finally, the job simply became too great for one person. Deborah Marengo has been a one-person show, organizing, promoting and fundraising for the fireworks display the past few years after its originator, restaurateur George Hauer, stepped down from that role.
But that’s all in the rear-view mirror now as La Jolla Village Merchants Association, the community’s business improvement district, took on the special event in 2015.
And a local resident has stepped forward and helped lay the financial groundwork for the event to successfully continue long into the future.
“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 Marengo. “Now, any extra money raised for the fireworks will be rolled over into the next year.”
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.
The 25-minute Cove fireworks display will begin at 9 p.m.
San Diego beaches are overrun with people on the three key summer holiday weekends — Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day — July Fourth is typically the busiest of all, with nearly one million people expected to hit city beaches.
But after a day of fun in the sun, once the waves have been conquered and the barbecues have been devoured, it’s time for pyrotechnics, at which time coastal residents and guests can please their patriotic palates by heading south to Ocean Beach, north to La Jolla, or opting for a third somewhat less conventional choice: SeaWorld San Diego, at 500 Sea World Drive.
The ever-popular marine mammal park has nightly fireworks on numerous evenings throughout the summer. But July Fourth is special, as SeaWorld hosts its Independence Day Fireworks Spectacular, offering an extended pyrotechnic display set to patriotic music commencing at 10:10 p.m. Fireworks will start at 10:30 p.m. and last approximately 17 minutes. The park is open until 11 p.m. on July Fourth.
Ocean Beach’s spectacular fireworks display is the community’s official kick-off to summer. Free parking is offered at the main beach and pier parking lots.
Spend the day picnicking with family and friends, swimming, walking and playing in the sand and shopping along Newport Avenue. Then bundle up as the sun sets and pull up a blanket for a really 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,” fought after the fireworks show on the beach and streets, which heretofore left the community a sticky mess. In 2014, OB Town Council, answering an overwhelming call from OB residents and merchants, responded with its successful “Mallow Out” campaign, discouraging the marshmallow war, which led to a 90 percent reduction in the goo.
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 Fourth 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 p.m. The event will end with a boom, literally! All the museums will be open and, as always, free to the public.
• What better place 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., visible throughout the Fairgrounds. The 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. At 9:30 p.m., Dana Carvey performs on the Grandstand Stage.
• Another prime spot again this year will be the Maritime Museum of San Diego. 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 barbecue dinner will be provided at two seatings from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and 7 to 8:30 p.m. Fireworks viewings are included with museum admission. For more information and reservations, call (619) 234-9153, ext. 101 or visit 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.