SALINAS VALLEY — Independence Day was celebrated throughout Salinas Valley as each city organized different activities to observe America’s birthday.
In King City, a fireworks show was put on July 3 and Pacific Valley Bank hosted the Fourth of July parade, which cruised down Broadway Street passing hundreds of spectators.
“The parade was amazing,” said King City Mayor Mike LeBarre. “It was great to see all the smiling faces coming together to celebrate our individual freedoms and rights this Fourth of July.”
The city’s fireworks show was hosted by King City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture and has been held the day before Independence Day in recent years to reduce costs.
Launched from the King City Golf Course, the fireworks were visible throughout the city.
“The firework show was awesome, the city is so thankful for all the volunteers and groups that make it happen,” LeBarre said. “This year more than ever, after going through such a tough time this past year, it was so important for the community to come together as one and celebrate our Independence Day together.”
Soledad once again organized the annual Star Spangled Children’s Parade, which started at Main Street Middle School and went down Main Street. Afterward, a community celebration event with games and contests took place at Cesar Chavez Park.
Soledad Mayor Anna Velazquez said volunteers, such as those on the city’s Fourth of July Committee, were behind community events. She credited the committee for its hard work in bringing the celebration events to Soledad.
“These are really important activities,” Velazquez said. “We saw the impacts of Covid-19 on our families, especially South County families, and activities like this are healing for our communities. To be able to come together to celebrate not only our independence, but also celebrating getting together with family and friends … is really critical as our community goes through the healing process.”
The July 4 holiday started in the valley with the seventh annual Orange and Black 5K in Gonzales, hosted by Gonzales Rx Pharmacy. Check-in began at 7 a.m. and participants ran throughout the city’s neighborhoods to gain mileage.
Gonzales Rotary Club hosted a Fourth of July in the Park at Central Park for the duration of the afternoon, which was preceded by a downtown parade. Attendees were able to enjoy live music, activities, food and booths. The Rotary also hosted its rib barbecue at the same time.
The City of Greenfield ended the night with an aerial fireworks show, with fireworks launched from nearby vineyards and able to be seen best from Patriot Park.
Hundreds of attendees came to watch the show, which was altered from prior years as there were no events held in the park itself. Families arrived early, some playing with small fireworks, and waited for the sky to turn dark before the spectacle began.
Greenfield Mayor Lance Walker said getting to celebrate Independence Day with events was important for the community.
“This year was very important and very special because we’ve been in lockdown for almost a year and four months,” Walker said. “It’s very important to be able to celebrate with fireworks, family and friends. Hopefully next year we can do something bigger. We have time to plan for that.”
In addition to the fireworks show, Walker noted Greenfield Police Department sponsored a barbecue for fellow first responder agencies.