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Have a Blast!

In celebration of our nation's freedom, there'll big parties and large explosions up and down the county.


Fireworks on the Fourth of July. What else could bring everyone together and have us looking toward the heavens with nonstop anticipation? We sit or stand and stare. We wait for the colorful explosions to dazzle us, all the while being reminded of how fortunate we are.

Independence Day means various things to people, but it is without a doubt the most American of holidays.

So, whether you enjoy fireworks, parades, picnics or patriotic music, here's a list of places to celebrate and to express gratitude to this country's Founding Fathers.

Aliso Viejo

* Independence Day Celebration and Concert. 11th annual event begins at 5 p.m. with a patriotic bike parade, pony rides, a petting zoo and bounce houses for children. Music by the Aliso Viejo Symphony, and local jazz and swing bands, food booths and a fireworks finale at 9 p.m. Free. Foxborough Park, Deerhurst and Foxborough streets, Aliso Viejo, (949) 362-5890, Ext. 236.


* Firecracker 5/10 Walk/Run & Product Fair. Registration begins at 6 a.m. and the race begins at 7:30 Saturday. $20, includes T-shirt, breakfast and prize drawings. Afterward, the Firecracker Product Fair will offer free samples and information from health- and fitness-related businesses and clubs. The Rotary Club will serve a pancake-and-sausage breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. $3. Canyon High School, 220 S. Imperial Highway. (714) 999-3428.

* Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks. Special edition of Disneyland's nightly fireworks display starts about 9:30 p.m. immediately after the Mulan Parade. Other attractions include the new Tarzan's Treehouse, "Fantasmic!" and music by Bernie & the Big Muddy Trio from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. Open 8 a.m.-2 a.m. $29-$39. Parking: $7-$8. Disneyland, 1313 Harbor Blvd. (714) 781-4565.

* Yankee Doodle Dog Show. Pampered pets compete for barking rights in such categories as Best Trick, Best Dressed, closest Owner/Doggie Look Alike, Most Patriotic and others. Winners get to march in the Fourth of July Parade (see below). Entry fee is $7 for each category entered. Canyon High School, 220 S. Imperial Highway. (714) 999-3428.

* 4th of July Parade. Local dignitaries, celebrities, winners of the Yankee Doodle Dog Show (see above), home town floats, marching bands, youth groups and others will parade north on Imperial Highway to Santa Ana Canyon Road, then west to Royal Oak Road. 3 p.m. Begins at Canyon High School, 220 S. Imperial Highway. (714) 765-5191.

* A Patriotic Fantasy. Community celebration includes food and game booths opening at 2 p.m., live music and vocal groups at 6 p.m., and a fireworks show at 9 p.m. Shuttle service available from the Crossroads Shopping Center, Santa Ana Canyon Road and Imperial Highway. Free. Peralta Park, 115 N. Pinney Drive, Anaheim Hills, (714) 765-5191.

* Baseball & Fireworks. Monday. The Anaheim Angels take on the Seattle Mariners, with a fireworks show after the game. 7:35 p.m. $6-$22. Edison International Field, 2000 Gene Autry Way. (714) 634-2000.

Buena Park

Encampment and Fireworks at Knott's. Saturday-Monday. Living-history displays, historical speeches, battle reenactments, traditional American music, and food and craft booths, in and around the park's replica of Philadelphia's Independence Hall. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Free. The park's annual Independence Day fireworks show starts around 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Knott's Berry Farm, 8039 Beach Blvd. (714) 220-5200.

* Concert and fireworks show. The Mike Henebry Orchestra will play swing and big-band music starting at 6:30 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m. Take a picnic or buy hot dogs, burgers, soft drinks and treats from vendors. Free admission. Bellis Park, 7171 8th St. (714) 562-3844.

Costa Mesa

* Fireworks show. Thursday. Get a head start on your Independence Day celebration at the center's annual pre-July 4 fireworks show. 9 p.m. Free. Fairview Developmental Center, 2501 Harbor Blvd. (714) 957-5105.

* Kingsman Invitational Drum & Bugle Corp Show and Fireworks. Orange Coast College, 2701 Fairview Road. (714) 894-5636. Drum and bugle corps from throughout California perform in a three-hour competition capped by fireworks. 7 p.m. $12-$20.

Dana Point

* Fireworks. Visible throughout the Dana Point Harbor area, fireworks begin at 9 p.m., launched from a barge in the middle of the harbor. Free viewing at points throughout the harbor area. Tune radios to KSBR-FM (88.5) for synchronized music. View the fireworks from the water aboard a chartered boat that leaves at 7:30 p.m. from Dana Wharf Sport Fishing. $15, includes a soft drink. (949) 496-4251.


* Community Fireworks Show & Festival. 10th annual celebration includes entertainment by hypnotist Cindy Layne and the Southland Band, as well as rides, game and food booths, clowns, a petting zoo and fireworks set to the music of Pyrospectaculars. 4-9:30 p.m. Fireworks start at 9 p.m. $4-$6. Fullerton High School stadium, Lemon Street and Barkeley Avenue. (714) 738-6575.

Huntington Beach

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