By Mary O’KEEFE
“Spectacular” is how Steve Goldsworthy described this year’s Crescenta Valley fireworks show at Crescenta Valley High School. Goldsworthy is the president of the CV Fireworks Association.
The location was changed this year due to construction at La Crescenta Elementary School, where the fireworks have been held for years. The Glendale Unified School District worked with CVFA to continue the event, with a series of restrictions, at the CVHS track and field.
“I loved being able to use the CV field,” Goldsworthy said. “The restrictions were probably hard for some people to understand, though.”
The high school’s field is artificial turf and can be damaged by chairs and umbrellas that can poke into the ground. People were asked to bring blankets to sit on the field, which they did – the football field was filled – and there were bleachers available for seating as well. The food trucks were very popular and the Association took full advantage of the space they did have by setting up a food court area with tables and chairs for about 600 people.
The fireworks were extremely well done. At one point it seemed that every part of the sky was lit up, and that was thanks to Robert “Hutch” Hutchins who has been the pyrotechnic expert for the CV fireworks for years.
The location change did not affect the fireworks much, Hutch said.
When asked how many shells he had prepared for the show he replied, “A lot.” The difference this year was the “cakes.”
“Cakes are low-level devices. We had 32 of them. You get a lot of bang for the buck with cakes,” he said. “They don’t go up as high so it is a bonus for those who pay to get into the [event].”
Whether it was the additional cakes or the shells, the fireworks inspired a lot of “oohs” and “awes” from the audience.
“I got a lot of comments that this was our best show ever,” Goldsworthy said.
His fears at the beginning of the night concerned what he couldn’t control.
“Technical glitches,” he said. “They test the board (for the fireworks) and the cables but you are hooking up thousands of connections,” Goldsworthy said.
The weather and sound were also worries but everything worked perfectly. All of it went on without issues in part thanks to the volunteers.
Over 70 people, from community members to Los Angeles County sheriff volunteers, worked hard to create the Fourth of July event.
Goldsworthy was particularly thankful for the teens from CVHS Prom Plus Club.
“We couldn’t have done it without them,” he said. “They were amazing.”
The show’s emcee was Anthony Portantino.
“I think this was his fourth year as emcee. He always says yes when we ask him,” Goldsworthy said.
Portantino kept the show running on schedule and kept the audience entertained. The bands that performed included Stinky Felix and Eli Locke with the Locke and Loaded band.
For Locke the return to the CV field was a bit of a homecoming; he played football while at CVHS for four years.
“It was a little odd being back but it was fun,” Locke said. “I kept thinking about football.”
When he was a football player Locke never thought that one day he would be playing in a band, let alone on his old field, but it was really because of football that he said he became a musician.
“I didn’t start playing the guitar until 2010 when I was injured in football,” he said.
He then picked up a guitar, started writing his own music and now has a pretty steady schedule of shows.
Los Angeles County Board Supervisor Michael Antonovich and his family stopped by to wish everyone a great Fourth of July and to watch the fireworks. Congressman Adam Schiff also stopped by and even took time to play with the Stinky Felix band and had one very special fan in the stands.
Three-year-old Noelan Taylor Aguliera waited patiently to speak to the Congressman, and when he did there were no words but a big hug.
“The Congressman helped bring him here from the Congo,” said his mother Christy Taylor.
Noelan was on the path to adoption by the Taylor Aguliera family when a three-year moratorium was placed by the Congo government.
“But [Noelan] was medically fragile; [if he waited] he would not be alive today,” Christy said.
Congress helped move adoptions like Noelan’s along and Schiff, specifically, helped the Taylor Aguliera family.
“He has been advocating for him for such a long time and [Noelan] finally got to meet him,” she said. “It seems fitting it was on the Fourth of July.”