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Free and not-free Fourth of July

Coronado, of course, but Mission Hills, Escondido, Mira Mesa and maybe a cruise on the Hornblower

There's so much more than fireworks in San Diego
  • There's so much more than fireworks in San Diego

God bless, John Adams. You can thank him for all the firework displays around the Fourth of July. In Philadelphia, July 4, 1777, 13 fireworks were set off to commemorate the 13 colonies. The colors have been flying ever since. Parades and fireworks have been my favorite part of the season every year. Nothing quite like the drum beat of a marching band or the booming of the colorful display of fireworks to swell the patriotic heart. This year, my hubby Patrick wants to throw in new traditions to our Kelly family festivities. Eve to the rescue with a list of possibilities.

There are runs, parades, concerts, and beer tastings

There are runs, parades, concerts, and beer tastings

Bright and early, starting at 7:30 a.m. is the July 4th Soledad Challenge. Patrick is getting back into running, so I know he will enjoy this event. This free race is a 10K up and down Mount Soledad, prizes awarded for the first male and female to arrive at the summit. Everyone is a winner with the fantastic views of San Diego from the cross at the summit.

Over the bridge in Coronado, there is a full day of holiday happenings. The Crown City Classic kicks off at 7:00 a.m. from Tidelands Park. A 12K (7.4 miles to honor the historic date), 5K, and a kids’ fun run; registration is $25 to $65. The race travels down Glorietta Boulevard to a bit past the Silver Strand Nature’s Bridge to Discovery. All finishers will receive a medal. At 10:00 a.m., the Independence Day Parade marches down Orange Avenue. Linger on the island until 4:00 and the Coronado Community Concert Band will strike up a tune at Spreckels Park. At 9:00 p.m. the fireworks will start over Glorietta Bay.

A parade will also be marching over at the Mission Hills Annual 4th of July BBQ at 10:30 a.m. Red, white, and blue attire is encouraged at the free event at Pioneer Park, where you will also find food, a concert, and games. At 12:30, there will be a pie contest — perhaps I should whip up my bourbon-soaked cherry apple pie. Or I can just bring Patrick as a test taster.

If our day gets off to a really late start, at 11:30 a.m. a parade kicks off down Mira Mesa Boulevard in Mira Mesa. After cheering on the parade, Mira Mesa Community Park will host a party for family fun up until the fireworks show at 9:00 p.m.

If Patrick would like to experience the Fourth as settlers did in the early days of San Diego, we can head over to the Old Town Fourth of July party. A parade, brass band, period clothing, contra dances, flag-raising — activities enough to throw it way back. Patrick will be especially thrilled with the cow-chip throwing and the cherry-pit spitting. The Old Town happenings start at 11:00 a.m.

At the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, starting at 4:00 p.m. is another Fourth of July party option. The free event will have music by Camp Pendleton’s Marine band, Toto Mundo, Brogue Wave, and Crown City Bombers; also food, children’s activities, and fireworks at 9:00 p.m. Patrick would enjoy the VIP beer tasting: $10 tickets for four, 4-ounce tasters of Stone, Karl Strauss, and Coronado Brewing.

Perhaps the man and I might want to be out on the water to get a closer view of the fireworks. The steam ferry Berkeley will be hosting a Fourth of July picnic on its observation deck. Adults are $35 for a seating from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

The schooner Californian will also be cruising; check in by 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $85.

And the Hornblower will be cruising from 7:00 until 10:00 p.m. with a buffet dinner, champagne, and dancing ($169.95 per ticket).

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