By Roz Rogoff
Fourth of JulyUploaded: Jul 1, 2012
I've never been to a Fourth of July event in Central Park in the 15 years I've lived in San Ramon. Like most residents I watched the aerial fireworks display from other locations. Most years I took a chair to the Iron Horse Trail just behind Cal High, where a group from the neighborhoods would gather to watch the aerial display.
Some years I even watched from my bedroom window. It wasn't the best view and some of the action was blocked by my neighbor's trees, but I could still see the better bursts in the sky without leaving my house.
This annual tradition of fireworks in the sky has spoiled some people into believing they are "entitled" to fireworks every Fourth of July. I was shocked to read posts in the Danville Express expecting OUR police to work without pay so THEY in Danville could have THEIR fireworks. These are probably the same people who say I'm not "entitled" to the Social Security I paid into for 40 years, but they are "entitled" to government sponsored fireworks because it is their tradition.
This tradition represents the blood and sacrifices of those who fought in the Revolutionary War and later wars sung about in the National Anthem, "The rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air." This year's Fourth of July event in Central Park includes a "tribute to our veterans and active duty military personnel that will include a flag ceremony, the playing of the National Anthem and the playing of the Armed Forces theme songs" all of which are more appropriate to history than an artificial recreation of "bombs bursting in air," for the enjoyment of those of us safe at home.
Still for diehards who insist on a fireworks show, there are several alternatives close by to choose from. Livermore is holding a fireworks display at Los Positas College from 4 pm to 10 pm on July Fourth. I hope Livermore doesn't experience the traffic congestion and dangerous behavior from crowds coming in from outside their city that caused San Ramon to cancel the fireworks this year.
Our City Council considered legalizing "Safe and Sane" fireworks this year, but fortunately wiser heads (including mine) prevailed and we did not step on that slippery slope. Dublin still allows the purchase and use of personal fireworks. However, they are still illegal here as signs posted at the boundaries between Dublin and San Ramon, and Alameda County and Contra Costa County, declare. So please do NOT bring in any fireworks over the County line or you could be slapped with a BIG fine.
Dublin does not allow the use of fireworks in multi-family housing, but apartment and condo dwellers may set them off in three parks designated for fireworks on the Forth of July: Alamo Creek Park, Dublin Sports Grounds, and Emerald Glen Park.
I suppose San Ramon Residents could buy a box or two of "Safe and Sane" fireworks from one of the fundraising stands in Dublin and take them to one of those three designated parks to retain the American tradition of fireworks on the Forth. Just don't bring that box of illegal fireworks into San Ramon.
Alamo Creek Park on Dougherty Road is near Denica's Café and Bakery, which will be open from 5 am to 4 pm on July Fourth for goodies to take to the park. I like to plug Denica's whenever I get the chance.
You can reserve a group picnic area in Emerald Glen Park if they are not already taken for July Fourth. Small family picnic areas are available first-come-first-serve.
Last but not least is the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton. They've been shooting off fireworks every Friday for the last two weeks and will hold their last Fireworks program at 9:30 pm on July 6th. Dates and calendars are funny things, and there have been all kinds of adjustments made over hundreds of years, so being two days off shouldn't be such a big deal if you really want to see fireworks.
Years ago I went to the Iron Horse Trail early and set up my chair before anyone else got there. The sunset was the most spectacular show in the sky that year. This year I shall go to Central Park to listen to the music and celebrate the heroes in our armed forces who risk their lives in hostile environments for this country. That's what the Fourth of July should be about.
The show closes at 7:30 pm, and the sun sets at 8:33 pm. When I get home from Central Park I'll sit on my tree stump in the back yard and watch another spectacular sunset over San Ramon.