Pleasanton Weekly

Cover Story - July 1, 2011

Independence Day 2011

Community invited to Pleasanton's Fourth of July Celebration

by Jerri Pantages Long

Don't miss the 13th annual all-volunteer Fourth of July celebration in Lions Wayside Park. The free event will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m., Monday, July 4. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets, and to wear red, white and blue.

Providing the music will be the Pleasanton Community Concert Band, under the direction of Bob Williams. The band has been performing for 36 years at the Lions Wayside Park bandstand.

Vocalist Ward Belding, as "Uncle Sam," will be featured (and available for popular photo opportunities). Pleasanton Poet Laureate Deborah Grossman has composed an original poem for the occasion, entitled "The Sounds of Freedom."

Entitled "Celebrating Freedom and its Evolution since the Revolution," the program this year will commemorate the sesquicentennial of the beginning of the Civil War. Special guests will be historian Ernie Manzo, in a Civil War uniform, and reader Ann Collins. They will provide perspectives of the impact of the war, on soldiers and civilians, interwoven with music from the era performed by the band. Master of ceremonies is Ken McDonald.

Tribute will be paid to military personnel, past and present, at the beginning of the program. The color guard will be comprised of members of the American Legion Post No. 238 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 6298. Members of Boy Scout Troop No. 908 will assist with set-up and clean-up as part of their community service. City staff members also assist with advance set-up.

Recipients of the 2011 Ed Kinney Community Patriots Award will be introduced at the celebration. They are Chuck Deckert, Joanie Fields, and Pat and Bob Lane. This is the seventh year that the awards have been presented in memory of the former emcee -- and former mayor -- Ed Kinney.

Pleasanton's Fourth of July event was founded in 1991 by W. Ron Sutton.

"Fourth of July should be more than barbecues and fireworks," explained Sutton. "I would like for everyone to leave Lions Wayside Park understanding and appreciating our freedom just a little more."

Some shade canopies will be provided through a grant from Wal-Mart, and free fans will be distributed to help audience members stay cool.

Families may bring their own picnic lunches or purchase "A Dog & a Drink for a Dollar," the popular hot dog lunch prepared by the Lions Club.

The park is located adjacent to Meadowlark Drive-Through Dairy, for those wishing to purchase ice cream cones. Lions also provides hand-held flags on a first-come, first-served basis. Last year, more than 800 people attended.

Event sponsor is Heritage Bank of Commerce, located on Main Street. Music sponsor is ACCUSPLIT, makers of pedometers and stopwatches. Food sponsors are Pleasanton Lions Club and Raley's Market.

Lions Wayside Park is located at the corner of First and Neal streets, one block east of Main Street.

Join your neighbors to celebrate Independence Day, Pleasanton-style.

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