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SCV blows up on the Fourth

Where to see the rockets' red glare

Posted: June 26, 2008 7:43 p.m.
Updated: August 28, 2008 5:01 a.m.

Spectators have several options for viewing fireworks in the Santa Clarita Valley on the Fourth of July this year.

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If you like to see stuff blown up into a kaleidoscope of brilliantly colored bits and hear the ba-BOOM! of big explosions, but are smart enough to let the pros handle the pyrotechnics, the Santa Clarita Valley is the place to be after dark on the Fourth of July.

That's when professionally staged fireworks displays celebrating America's independence will fill the skies over the SCV with the sights and sounds of the rockets' red glare and bombs bursting in air. Most of the displays are free.

Residents have several venues from which to choose, and some hilltop locations around the SCV offer views of the multiple fireworks shows. You may not get as close to the action, but the price is right.

Westfield Town Center
The valley's biggest fireworks extravaganza is staged annually by the city of Santa Clarita at the Westfield Town Center mall, beginning at 9:15 p.m., and it's free. 

Spectators may view the action from almost any location around Town Center. The mall's huge parking lot will be equipped with portable restrooms and trash containers, including parking areas 6K-6G, 6C, 7A-7E, 10K-10M, 2D-2H and 10C-10G.

Local radio station KHTS-AM/1220 will broadcast a soundtrack for the fireworks, so viewers may also listen to patriotic songs and music on car radios or portable radios.

For safety's sake, organizers ask spectators to stay out of the fireworks "fall zone" around the launch site - including McBean Parkway from the mall entrance to Town Center Drive, parts of Town Center Drive, the area around the market garage, and the Hyatt Valencia parking lot - between 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Temporary road closures include McBean between Valencia Blvd. and Magic Mountain Parkway from 8:30 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. To bypass closures, visitors may enter Town Center from Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia Blvd. or Citrus Avenue.

"Salute to Our Heroes" is the theme the city adopted for this year's celebration. "It's basically paying tribute to our soldiers who are overseas fighting for us, and to the sheriff's deputies, firefighters and emergency personnel who protect us here at home," said David Knutsen, city Arts & Events coordinator. "It's dedicated to anyone who is a hero in our lives or has done something heroic."

The extravaganza will last about 30 minutes, during which 3,293 shells will be fired, Knutsen said. Of those, about 75 shells are five inches in diameter and deliver the biggest bang, while rest are four-inch shells. The city's budget for the whole show: "About $48,000," Knutsen said, adding it takes up to 100 people - pyrotechnical experts from Pyro Spectaculars (based in Rialto Calif.), sheriff's personnel, city staffers and volunteers - to pull off the event.

For more info, call (661) 286-4018 or visit www.santa-clarita.com/arts/Events/fourth/home2008.asp.

The Greens
The Greens at Valencia, on McBean Parkway between Valencia Blvd. and Magic Mountain Parkway, will offer prime territory on its putting course for spreading out a blanket and watching the fireworks, but advance reservations are required.

According to Matt Wilkin, assistant manager, The Greens will remain open for golfing until 7 p.m., when the course will be cleared for seating starting at 8 p.m. Access between Valencia Boulevard and Magic Mountain Parkway will be closed from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

The Greens will serve its regular menu from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with appetizers available all day and into the evening. A special barbecue dinner will be served from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Local group Drop Zone will drop classic rock from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., and a live DJ will start spinning discs after the Town Center fireworks show wraps, approximately 9:45 p.m., according to Wilkin.

"It's $14.95 for adults and $12.95 for children 12 and younger, including the barbecue dinner," he said. For those who don't want dinner, seating is available on the course starting at 8 p.m.; the cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children.

For more info, call (661) 222-2900.

Whole Foods Market
For the third year, Whole Foods Market invites fireworks watchers to view the show from its parking lot off Valencia Blvd. just east of McBean Parkway, across the street from Town Center. Market staff will serve dinner from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for $6 per person, which includes a "Yankee dog" (beef, turkey or veggie), potato salad, a watermelon slice, a piece of mixed-berry shortcake and natural soda or water.

"It gives you the best seat in the house to watch the fireworks," said Jennie Chester, Whole Foods marketing assistant. "People usually park their cars in our lot so they can tail-gate, and it's a great way for families and friends to get together to share in the festivities."

Dinner purchase is not required to park in the Whole Foods lot, and there will be various food demonstrations going on inside the store during the event, Chester confirmed.

Call (661) 260-2377 ext. 210 for more info.

Rioux Park (Stevenson Ranch)
The Stevenson Ranch Community Association Civic Committee and L.A. County Parks & Recreation join forces at Richard Rioux Park (26233 W. Faulkner Drive, 91381) for the 10th annual Stevenson Ranch Fireworks Spectacular.

"It's the best fireworks show in the Santa Clarita Valley," boasted Doug Newell, the park's recreation services supervisor.

Festivities kick off at 8 p.m., he said. "Every year we start off by singing the full-length version of Don McLean's ‘American Pie.'" Cub Scout Pack 499 will serve as the color guard; Sarah Arnold, 15, will warble the National Anthem; and Assemblyman Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita) is slated to deliver a patriotically themed keynote address.

Fireworks blast off at 9:05 p.m. "We shoot them off from the baseball diamond area, and if you're anywhere in the park, you'll have a fabulous view - there's not a bad seat in the park," Newell said.

"We welcome the whole family - bring blankets, camping chairs, a picnic dinner and enjoy the fun. We'll have patriotic music and, best of all, it's free, which is always a recipe for a good time."

Newell estimates about 5,000 people attended last year, and expects that number to swell by about 1,000 because Six Flags Magic Mountain isn't staging a fireworks show this year (see below). He suggests spectators arrive early.

For more info, call the park office at (661) 222-9536.

Castaic Lake
The Fourth of July celebration at the Castaic Lake Recreation Area, thrown each year by the nonprofit Friends of Castaic Lake and L.A. County's Parks & Recreation department, climaxes with a spectacular fireworks display over the water starting about 9 p.m.

The park opens to vehicles at 6 a.m. and the lot will be closed when it reaches a capacity of about 200 cars, "around 10 or 11 a.m.," according to Clay Friedman, president of the Friends of Castaic Lake. Walk-in traffic is welcome anytime after 6 a.m.

Entrance fee is $25 a carload or $5 per walk-in person. Children five years old and under are free.
Friedman said more parking is available across from the Recreation Area's Paradise Cove on Lake Hughes Road for $5.

Inside, there will be "water slides, a petting zoo, bouncers, pony rides, face-painting, games and other stuff for little kids," Friedman said.

Vendors will offer a variety of foods, including Famous Dave's BBQ, Chinese food, hamburgers, hot dogs, kettle corn and funnel cakes.

A DJ and top local karaoke singers will provide music and entertainment from 5 p.m. until the fireworks show sparks at 9 p.m.

Friedman said the fireworks rockets will be launched from a barge in the lagoon - about $30,000-worth of pyro. The 20-25-minute show "should be a real good time," he added. The budget for the entire celebration is "more than $50,000," and partly offset by sponsorships by the Chiquita Canyon landfill, N-Style Salon in Castaic and the Castaic Boat & Ski Club.

For more info, call (661) 257-4050.

Six Flags Magic Mountain
The popular theme park will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on the Fourth of July and will be "wrapped in stars and stripes" for the patriotic spectacular. Local musical groups will perform, and Bugs Bunny World will host its "traditional Fourth of July fair."

"For the holiday weekend (July 4, 5 and 6), we will have a special laser show at the Main Gate fountain-Valencia Falls area as the finale of our nightly parade," said Sue Carpenter, park spokeswoman.

However, Magic Mountain recently ended its nightly fireworks shows during the summer, and Carpenter said there will be no exception for the Fourth of July.

"In the interest of the local community and the high brush fire conditions in the Santa Clarita Valley, we are no longer implementing summer fireworks," she said. "Six Flags regrets ending the summer fireworks tradition and asks guests and neighbors to understand and support the decision."

For more info call (661) 255-4111 or visit www.sixflags.com/magicmountain/.

Signal Features Editor Jim Walker contributed to this story.

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