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COVER STORY : The Works : From pyrotechnics to pancakes, local July Fourth celebrations promise a bang-up time.


Undoubtedly, it is a grand old flag, but fireworks are the real attraction on the Fourth of July. Here are nearby places to see the rockets' red glare.

Proving that hyperbole is as American as apple pie, at least two holiday programs are boasting they have the best fireworks display in the San Fernando Valley.

The Woodland Hills Chamber of Commerce will have its 21st annual July Fourth Extravaganza and Fireworks Show at Pierce College Stadium, 6201 Winnetka Ave. Besides having what the promoters say is "the largest fireworks display in the San Fernando Valley," the show will feature A Salute to Veterans, sky divers, music, entertainment and food. Tickets range from $7 to $12, and parking is $5. Call (818) 703-7859.

Spirit of America, sponsored by the Chatsworth, Granada Hills and Northridge chambers of commerce at the Cal State Northridge North Campus at Devonshire Street and Zelzah Avenue, will have music, entertainment and what its promoters claim is "the biggest fireworks show in the San Fernando Valley." Music by Jennifer York, Erik Eckstrand and True Story, plus carnival games, rides and sky divers, will be featured. Gates open at 2 p.m., music starts at 4 and fireworks begin at 9. Tickets are $8, $5 children 5 to 11, and parking is $3. Call (818) 341-2428, (818) 368-3235 or (818) 349-5676.

Burbank will stage its annual July Fourth celebration at the Starlight Bowl, 1246 Lockheed View Drive. Aerial fireworks accompanied by music will conclude the program at around 9:15 p.m. The Bill Elliott Swing Orchestra, with the Lucky Stars vocal quartet and singer Amy Weston, will headline the show. Elliott, who has composed music for film and television, writes much of the ensemble's repertoire, performed in the Big Band style of the 1930s and '40s. The Jokesters will entertain children before the concert. Tickets range from $5 to $20, and gates open at 6 p.m. Call (818) 953-9572.

Celebration USA at the Rose Bowl will feature Motown recording legend Smokey Robinson; Cirque du Soleil; Viva El Mariachi; the children's show Happy Birthday USA, and The Nations of America, a 35-minute fireworks and light show that will salute America's cultural heritage. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., and opening ceremonies are at 7. A portion of gate receipts will benefit victims of the Oklahoma City bombing. Tickets range from $10 to $42. Call (800) 963-4600.

Six Flags Magic Mountain, Magic Mountain Parkway, Golden State Freeway, has scheduled Batman Forever Fun Days from Saturday to Tuesday. Trading cards will be given free to youngsters 3 to 11, and a Patriotic Fireworks Salute will be staged at 9:15 nightly. Admission is $29 general, $15 for children shorter than 4 feet, $18 seniors 55 and older, free for children 2 and younger. A two-park combo ticket for Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor is $43. Parking is $6. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Call (818) 367-5965 or (805) 255-4111.

San Fernando will celebrate with fireworks, music, entertainment and food at Recreation Park, 208 Park Ave. Festivities begin at 2 p.m. and include music by the Billy Mitchell Uptown Band performing swing music and Latin and R & B classics. Three dance ensembles (the Ballet Folklorico Ollin, Cuahutemoc and the Ballet Folklorico Mexicano del Valle de San Fernando, Mariachi Los Halcones, Mariachi Orgullo Mexicano and the Monarch Classical Guitar Trio will be featured. Admission is free. Call (818) 898-1290.

Lancaster will have its annual July Fourth Celebration from 4 to 9:30 p.m. at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds. Featured are carnival rides and games, magic shows, entertainment, food and music by the Sagebrush Riders and Rock Solid. Fireworks start at 9 p.m. Admission is free. Call (805) 723-6077.

The Conejo Recreation and Park District has again scheduled a full day of July Fourth activities at several locations in Thousand Oaks, starting with a nature walk at 7 a.m., followed by an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast ($3 general, $2 seniors and children) from 8 to 11 a.m., home-run derbies ($1 general, $2 seniors) from 8:30 to 11 a.m., a family open swim at two high school pools, a concert in the park and a 9 p.m. fireworks show behind The Oaks shopping mall. KNJO-FM will broadcast music to accompany the pyrotechnic display. For a complete schedule, call (805) 499-4355.

The Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce will have its annual Family Festival of Fun at Crescenta Valley High School, 4400 Ramsdell Ave. Gates will open at noon with carnival rides and games, temporary-tattoo painting, a dunk tank and food. Live bands will start at 5 p.m., and the fireworks show begins at 9:15 p.m. Admission is $6 general, and children under 5 are free. Call (818) 248-4957.

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