Communities across Merced County are preparing for big summer bashes commemorating the Fourth of July.
Fireworks will brighten the skies and parade-goers will march the streets from Merced County’s east to west sides in the coming days, with festivities planned from late this week and into the Monday holiday.
Residents should be aware however that all local law enforcement enforcement will be patrolling around the county to enforce firework laws, according to the Merced County Sheriff’s Office. Individuals caught with illegal fireworks will face a fine of $ 1,000 and up to one year in jail.
Illegal firework activity can be reported to the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency phone line at (209) 385-7449.
Here’s a list of local events celebrating Independence Day.
The City of Atwater has traditionally come out in a big way for July 4, and this year is no exception. Fourth of July celebrations have been a staple of the Atwater community for nearly 60 years, according to an Atwater 4th of July Committee news release ..
The theme for this year’s festivities is Celebrating 100 Years of Atwater. “We will have one of the best fireworks shows in the Valley,” the release said.
The community is kicking off Independence Day early with a July 4 Run for Independence, featuring a two and five mile race around the city. Check in starts at 5:45 am at the corner of Grove Avenue and Second St. across from the finish line archway. Both races begin at 7:30 am
The Downtown Atwater Parade will launch shortly after at 9 am and travel down Winton Way from Fir Avenue, pass through Ralston Park and end at Juniper Avenue.
A festival will run for much of the day from 9 am to 4 pm in Ralston Park. The celebration is free to the public.
Afterwards, festivities will move to Castle Commerce Center. Gates will open to attendees at 6 pm with a $ 10 per car entrance fee for entrance. Gates are scheduled to close to incoming traffic at 9:15 pm
Spectators can enjoy a concert featuring Mike Hammer and the Nails with special guests Rob Tracy and Mike Boykin. A live band will also play in the lead up to the fireworks show.
The grand fireworks display will begin lighting up the skies above Castle at 9:30 pm
The Atwater 4th of July Committee has partnered with Blaker Brewing-The Tarmac at Castle Commerce Center for a Red, White and Brews event from 3-11 pm in conjunction with the fireworks show. Local reggae band Crashboat will provide music starting 6 pm at the brewery.
Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Atwater 4th of July Committee.
The committee is a nonprofit made up of community members committed to preserving the small town traditions of celebrating Independence Day in Atwater. The nonprofit relies on donations, booth fees and sales to supplement the costs of hosting the annual event.
“We believe that celebrating this great nation’s independence is our honor and duty and we are proud to be part of a group of volunteers that have taken the spirit of past volunteers to insure the American patriotism celebrated on the Fourth of July continues forever in our community , ”The release said.
Los Banos is starting its Independence Day celebrations earlier on July 2.
The city’s Light Up the Sky event kicks off at 1 pm Saturday at Henry Miller Plaza at 600 H St. The event marks the second annual Fourth of July celebration.
The day’s festivities will include carnival rides, arts and crafts, live music, food and beer booths. Fireworks are set to launch at dusk.
The carnival will open on Friday from 5-9 pm, a day before the main event’s other festivities.
Advance carnival coupons can be purchased from the Los Banos Downtown Association at 907 6th St. in downtown Los Banos. Coupons are redeemable at the carnival booth for either an all day wrist band or 30 tickets.
The event is being put on by the Los Banos Downtown Association in partnership with the City of Los Banos.
The City of Gustine is also kicking off its Independence Day celebrations early on Saturday.
The fifth annual Westside 5K Color Run and Walk will beckon the start of festivities at 8 am Saturday. The event will take place at 4th Avenue and 5th Street. Funds raised will benefit the city’s recreation department and Gustine High School.
Celebrations will continue the next day with a Gustine FFA tractor pull scheduled for 5 pm at the Gustine High School football field.
Festivities will fire up even more the next day for July 4, starting with the Gustine Chamber of Commerce’s Fourth of July parade at 10:30 am Marchers will travel from Main Street to Henry Miller Park.
The community can enjoy music, games, craft beer and food — and more — at Henry Miller Park following the parade. The recreation department is hosting activities at the park as well, including a corn hole tournament from 12-3 pm
Gustine’s 112th annual fireworks show will close out Independence Day at dusk. Attendees can enter the Gustine High School football field at 7:30 pm Guests are encouraged to bring their own blankets and chairs.