After a day of sunning and surfing in San Clemente, after an afternoon of parading and picnicking in Pacific Palisades, after softball games in the park and potato salad and Sousa marches and homemade ice cream at schools and stadiums and backyards in El Segundo and Pasadena and Baldwin Park and Santa Ana--then, everywhere, come the fireworks.
It's probably only a few minutes' drive to the nearest fireworks display. With more and more Southland cities banning "safe and sane" fireworks each year (the "backyard" type of fireworks that are sold at roadside stands and either whistle or emit showers of sparks), fire authorities say they expect most former backyard fireworks fans to attend one of the dozens of displays put on by professional pyrotechnicians at parks, beaches and
stadiums around Southern California. There will be nearly 70 such shows in Los Angeles and Orange counties alone, many of them free. (For a list of communities that allow individuals to buy and set off backyard fireworks, and those that don't, see accompanying story.)
Many fireworks shows will be preceded by other entertainment, such as carnivals, outdoor concerts, game
booths, picnics, sporting events and other activities sponsored by cities or civic organizations. Many such activities precede the actual fireworks shows by one or two hours; others begin early in the day. (The accompanying story lists neighborhood fireworks shows by communities; use the phone numbers listed to find out about scheduled activities that may precede the fireworks shows.)
For those who haven't made up their minds whether to fill the backyard with sulfur smoke or pack the family off to the local fireworks show, here are some of the largest public displays--and some of the best spots from which to view them:
LOS ANGELES COUNTY
Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia
Although the higher explosions will be visible from outside the park, the best inside vantage point, said Magic Mountain spokeswoman Sherrie Bang, will be at the 4-acre Mystic Lake. The 9:15 p.m. fireworks show will include several ground-level set pieces that will be reflected in the lake, as well as aerial fireworks. There is also a musical show at the lake featuring singers and dancers who perform routines synchronized with the fireworks display. There is bleacher seating at the lake for 4,000 people, Bang said.
The Rose Bowl
This show, titled "Americafest" and designed as a celebration of the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, is being billed as the largest fireworks display on the West Coast. The fireworks show will be preceded by a performance by the USC marching band and circus acts. The gates will open at 6 p.m.; the band will play before and after the circus, which begins at 7:30; the fireworks show is scheduled to begin at 9.
Because of room taken up by pyrotechnic "set pieces" that are constructed inside the bowl, the seating capacity in the stadium will be reduced to about 65,000. As of June 29, nearly 14,000 tickets had been sold. Officials say that although a sellout is possible, it isn't likely that tickets will be sold out in advance. Prices are $10 for adults and $8 for children under 12. Children under 3 are admitted free. The tickets are expected to be on sale at the bowl all day today, and until noon at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium box office. Ticket information is available from the auditorium box office at (818) 449-7360.
The best vantage points outside of the bowl, according to Pasadena Fire Department officials, are along Arroyo Boulevard on the east side of the bowl and, for the hungry, Skylights restaurant in the top of the nearby Pasadena Hilton Hotel.
The Hollywood Bowl
Only a few single tickets were left for this concert-and-fireworks show early in the week and none were expected to be left by today. However, anyone managing to drive into the area of the Hollywood Hills above the bowl likely would be able to get a view of the fireworks, which are expected to begin between 9:15 and 9:30 p.m. The concert, which is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m., features the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Murry Sidlin, in a program of music by American composers.
Long Beach's over-the-water display will be fired from a barge near the liner-turned-hotel at about 9 p.m. today and Sunday. One of the most widely visible shows in the Southland, the display should be viewable from the nearby marina area and from the bluffs bordering Ocean Avenue all along the city's south-facing beach, said Long Beach fire marshal Sam Husoe.
The best look at the fireworks can be had for the price of a standard attraction ticket to the Queen Mary-Spruce Goose complex, said Louise Wright, a spokeswoman for Wrather Properties Ltd., the operators of the Queen Mary. That ticket--$14.50 for adults, $10.50 for juniors ages 12-17 and $8.50 for children ages 5-11--also entitles the Fourth of July visitor to sit in a set of bleachers set up on the side of the ship nearest the fireworks barge.