By Maddy PUMILIA
About 5,000 people from either close-by or faraway brought their blankets and lawn chairs to La Crescenta Elementary School to witness what most love to see on the Fourth of July – a fireworks show in celebration of America’s independence.
“It’s a great community event that we put together. It’s something people look forward to,” said Howard Hakes, a member of the CV Fireworks Assn., organizers of the event.
The fireworks shot up 400 feet into the air during a 25-minute show that started around 9 p.m. The crowd was treated to a variety of different patterns and colors. A smiley face firework was a new addition to this year’s show.
The firing of the display was done at nearby CV High School and was coordinated using a keyboard.
“It’s much safer and I would say more artistic,” said Warren Boehm, who is also part of the CV Fireworks Assn. Boehm has been involved with fireworks in the Crescenta Valley since the “early days,” more than 20 years ago when the CV Chamber of Commerce hosted the event. Back then the show and carnival were held on the grounds of the high school. When a new track was installed at the high school, the show was dark for a year before the association was formed to bring fireworks back to the foothills.
But the crowd didn’t seem to care where the fireworks came from – they were just happy to be close to the dazzling display.
“The fireworks are good, because I like the colors of them,” said Cameron Harvey, 7.
“It’s one of the best shows in Southern California,” said Mike Shaar, president of the CV Fireworks Association. “It’s a great community event.”
The event was also an opportunity to honor military service personnel. Former infantry Marine and current California Army National Guard Capt. Scott Mekelburg, who has 23 years of military experience and was deployed to Iraq twice, was recognized at the show.
“It feels great [to be honored]. I’m fortunate enough to live in a world and a nation where we can celebrate our independence. The Fourth of July is the best family event,” Mekelburg said.
For those not interested in bringing a picnic dinner, the CV Fireworks Assn. had four food trucks on site.
“The food trucks were crazy busy,” said Steve Pierce, of the CV Fireworks Assn. “Everyone had a smile on their face.”
Pierce said that all of the food trucks were also happy with the event.
The trucks served up hot dogs, Indian cuisine and Mexican fare.
“Our specialty is modern Mexican cuisine: mostly tacos, quesadillas and ceviche,” said Shane Alvord, of Border Grill.
Frozen Crush sold Italian ice. They brought a special “patriotic crush” which had lemon, blue raspberry and sour cherry. No Tomatoes sold out of their Indian food.
Carnival rides occupied children and adults before the show. Adult rides – like swings – cost more tickets than rides geared for kids. Both liked the giant slide, though, that was set up on Prospect Avenue adjacent to the entrance to the school campus where blankets and lawn chairs were set up. The CV Fireworks Assn. got a percentage of ticket proceeds.
“The rides are fun,” said 9-year-old Alin Asadooran. “I’m going to stay and watch the fireworks. I like fireworks a lot.”
Music from the band Sardo kept the crowd entertained. They played American classic rock and classic country cover music.
“We’re going to have fun tonight,” said singer Tony Sardo. His brothers, Buddy and Carmen, played bass and lead guitar. His son, Nick, mastered the drums.
Tickets cost $5 each with children under 2 and those in the military admitted free.
The display cost several thousand dollars to put on and the CV Fireworks Assn. owed some of that money donations solicited from the public or from sponsors including the City of Glendale, the Montrose Shopping Park Association, Bob Smith Toyota, CV Weekly and Crescenta Valley Insurance.
“The Fourth of July is a great time to get together to be with family and friends,” said Allisyn Ashley Arm, star of the Disney Show “So Random” and an attendee of the event.
Even the littlest seemed to grasp the significance of celebrating the nation’s independence.
“America is a place I want to be,” said 9-year-old Madison Harvey.