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How people plan to spend the first Fourth of July since California’s reopening

The 15th of June couldn't come sooner for Californians who were tired of pandemic-related restrictions. Most were lifted mid-month and just in time for the Fourth of July.

"We’re going to be up in the mountains, the San Bernardino mountains. We just bought a house up there," Palm Springs resident, David Otto said.

Visitors in downtown Palm Springs on Sunday shared some of their plans with News Channel 3.

"This year we’re going to be celebrating the fourth in Bakersfield; we both live there and it’s a 55+ community. They’ve invited everyone to decorate their golf carts and breakfast is being served and after that you’re on your own," San Joaquin Valley resident, Sandy Purcell said.

Many are now looking forward to firing up the grill, and spending the day among family and friends.

"We’re very grateful that we’re able to do that. There’s lots of families who may not be quite as fortunate as we are to have all of our family with us. We are very thankful. I just wish that everyone has a great fourth," San Joaquin Valley resident, Judy Nast said.

Cities around the Coachella Valley are gearing up for the Independence Day celebration. Some will be holding events earlier than the fourth.

  • Desert Hot Springs - July 2 Fireworks Show
    • The City of Desert Hot Springs will kick off Independence Day celebrations on Friday, July 2 with a Fireworks show. Everyone is invited to bring their lawn chairs and blankets to Mission Springs Park.

      The events will runs from 6 pm to 10 pm. Food trucks will be on site. 
  • Coachella - July 2 Fireworks Show
    • The City of Coachella is hosting an Independence Day celebration on July 2 at Bagdouma Park. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

    • July 3 Fireworks Show

      On July 3, Coachella Crossroads (next to Spotlight 29 Casino) will host a free fireworks show. The event starts at 5 p.m. and will feature full bar service (featuring the new 29 Palms Band of Mission Indians craft beer selection), games and family activities (including corn hole, a photo booth, giveaways and more), and classic BBQ will be served from a food truck in support of the Riverside Sheriffs Association.

      At 6 PM, a DJ will provide upbeat music, and at 7 PM, the public and casino guests will be invited to take rides on hot air balloons on the property.

      At approximately 9 PM, an amazing fireworks display will begin in sync with a live remote radio broadcast of music. The event concludes at 10 PM.
  • Palm Springs - July 4 Laser Light Show
    • The city of Palm Springs raised some controversy in May when a split council voted not to hold a traditional fireworks show. So what's the replacement? All day events culminating in a Laser Light Show

      Victoria Park 4th of July Water Palooza (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.): Free hot dogs and snow cones, water games, food, music

      Palm Springs Swim Center Family Pool Party (3 – 9 p.m.) – Food, water games, music

      Sunrise Park Independence Fest (activities start at 3 p.m.): Music, games, food, Movie in the Park starts at dusk.

      Ruth Hardy Park Fourth of July Spectacular (activities start at 4 p.m.): Food & Games, Dude Jones Band and Laser Light Show. Band plays at 6:30 p.m.; Laser Show at 9:15 p.m.
    • AAP – Food Samaritans will also host its own Independence Day Celebration and Fundraiser at the Historic O'Donnell House
      • The event begins at 7:30 pm. Guests will enjoy traditional American fare catered by Willie Rhine and his team from Eight4Nine who will provide amazing décor, great service, and delicious food and beverages.
      • Tickets are $200, which includes an open bar, dinner, entertainment, and valet parking. (Advance purchase is required.)
      • Tickets for the Independence Day Celebration may be purchased at aapfoodsamaritans.org or by calling 760-325-8481.
  • Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage Fireworks Show
    • Celebrate Fourth of July with giveaways and a magnificent fireworks display !FREE parking and admission.
    • Drive-In Special | 7 PM
      It's the fireworks kickoff! Bring your own lawn chair, sit back and enjoy music and giveaways!
    • Fireworks Show | 9 PM - 9:30 PM
      A spectacular show with live synchronized music from Eagle 106.9 Parking opens at 3 PM
  • Twentynine Palms - July 4 Fireworks Show
    • July 4, Tortoise Rock Casino will host also host a fireworks show

      At 10 AM, a color guard will raise the Marine Flag, followed by the raising of the Tribal Flag. This will be followed by a color guard raising the national flag. Representative from the Twentynine Palms community will follow with short remarks and the flag raising ceremony will end with food service offered to attendees.

      At 5 PM the evening event begins, and features free admission, but anyone under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult. An outdoor patio area will feature full bar service (featuring he new 29 Palms Band of Mission Indians craft beer selection), games and family activities (including corn hole, a photo booth, giveaways and more), classic BBQ will be served from Mine Train Smokery, Eddies Street Tacos, and other Local Street vendors, and a Classic Car Experience courtesy of the Morongo Basin Car Club.

      At 5:30 PM, a color guard will lower the American flag, followed by live music from Lisa Lynn and The Broken Hallelujahs at the Rock Stage. At 7 PM, the public and casino guests will be invited to take rides on hot air balloons on the property. At approximately 9 PM, an amazing fireworks display will begin in sync with a live remote radio broadcast of music. The event concludes at 10 PM.

Despite professional fireworks shows, local law enforcement is urging the public to steer clear of illegal fireworks in cities where they are not permitted.

"Fireworks are illegal, even on Fourth of July," said Battalion Chief John Williams with Cathedral City Fire. He said crews are preparing to crack down on illegal displays. "If you're caught with fireworks – either you're using them, shooting them, or in possession – you'll be fined $1,000 for first offense, $2,000 for second offense, $3,000 for third offense, and so on," he said.

And the crackdown is happening countywide. This year, the Riverside County board of supervisors passed new regulations that more than double fines for illegal fireworks. Violators can be slapped with a $1,000 to $5,000 penalty.

But it's not just about the increased fire risk.

The Sheriff's Dept. reported 8,668 911 calls last year around the Fourth of July in relation to fireworks, with 80 people arrested.

Law enforcement officials said that's a strain on resources that could be used in other places.

To prevent fires and keep first responders available for emergencies, fire crews said stick to legal fireworks only this year.

"We're hoping people stay safe, they respect the rules," Nathan Gunkel with Palm Springs Fire Department said.

Certain unincorporated areas of the county permit "safe and sane" fireworks, including Desert Hot Springs, Indio, Coachella and Blythe. That only includes fireworks, like sparklers, that don't shoot into the air.

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Shelby Nelson

Shelby Nelson is a News Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. She joined our team in September 2019. Learn more about Shelby here.

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