Head to Fourth fun in red, white and blue
Festivities include concert and hotdogs
Lions Wayside Park on First Street is the place to be on the Fourth of July as all ages gather for the 14th year of "Celebrating Freedom and its Evolution since the Revolution."
The event will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. but people begin staking out their spots with lawn chairs and picnic blankets early in the morning. Most folks wear red, white and blue for the celebration, and the first 400 receive handheld American flags, a gift from the Lions Club. Lions also will be cooking up the "Dog & a Drink for a Dollar."
As volunteers hand out the printed programs, return guests eagerly scan the pages to see if they are among those featured in the photo collage assembled by volunteer photographer and graphic designer Lisa Lorentz.
It was Lorentz who came up with the idea of creating handheld fans out of colorful paper plates stapled to wooden handles. The fans are assembled by the Deboo family, provided as gifts from event sponsor Heritage Bank of Commerce.
Pleasanton Community Concert Band, under the direction of conductor Bob Williams, will perform rousing patriotic music, sponsored by ACCUSPLIT, whose president W. Ron Sutton started the Independence Day tradition in Pleasanton.
"Fourth of July should be about more than barbecues and fireworks," said Sutton. "We need to honor our heritage."
By producing the patriotic commemoration midday, Sutton makes it possible for residents to also participate in neighborhood barbecues or go to fireworks displays in the evening.
The program will begin with a medley of the anthems of each branch of the country's military, and members or veterans of each group are asked to stand and be applauded for their service. The local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars will provide the color guard and fire a 21-gun salute.
This will be the second year commemorating the Civil War Sesquicentennial, with two guest speakers. Ernie Manzo, attired in a uniform of the era, will talk about the battles of 1862. Ann Collins will offer "a grandmother's perspective" on the legislative actions of 1861: the Homestead and Land Grant acts, plus the Emancipation Proclamation.
Ward Belding, as Uncle Sam, will explain the history of Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," which the band will perform. Belding also will lead a sing-along of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Returning as Master of Ceremonies is Ken McDonald.
The 2012 Ed Kinney Community Patriots will be introduced -- Jan Batcheller and Tony Macchiano. The award is named in memory of the former mayor who was the original master of ceremonies for this Fourth of July celebration.
The community event will also have volunteers applying free temporary patriotic "tattoos." Boy Scout Troop No. 908 assists with setup and teardown. It takes nearly 100 volunteers to produce the event for the community, a true hometown holiday celebration.