Changes on tap for Antioch July 4 event

Dear Editor:

Mixed news on the upcoming 2014 Fourth of July. The downsides, for many, are the changes. The parade route has been altered from the traditional E Street kickoff to a now L Street start. The fireworks have been moved from the riverfront to the County Fairgrounds.

I count myself as one who will miss the ambience of floats and marchers passing the historic Rivertown storefronts and water view. I, too, will miss the excitement of aerial displays over the San Joaquin. It was vintage small-town Americana at its best.

The twin culprits forcing the change are two in number; safety and costs.

Despite all the fencing in the world, the crowds simply get onto the railroad tracks. Added to our police manpower shortfalls, that spells nightmare. Also, after a two-year lapse with the city stopping funding of the event, the strain of raising $65,000, much of which goes for police overtime, just got to be too much.

Let's dwell, though, on positives. There is plenty to rejoice.

The core of the event is still alive and well. Private security will now man the festivities, aided by some Sheriff's Office presence. Security will be less problematic in the more controlled fairgrounds at 10th and L.

Admission remains free and, much to our delight, parking is ample. Free street lots will be announced, and the fairgrounds lot is available at $5 a car.


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The parade starts at 11 a.m. at Second and L and proceeds to the fairgrounds. Fireworks begin at 9:15 p.m. This year, the aerial show will actually be overhead, so it promises to be spectacular.

The fairgrounds is a venue that affords great variety of activity.

We will have substantial picnic grounds, a classic car show, more food booths than ever, beer booths run by community organizations, circus performers, face painting, pony and kids carnival rides, plus educational exhibits including a library area, fire truck, canine unit demonstration, remote-controlled model airplanes and model railroad.

There will also be nonstop music in the band shell featuring such treats as Rick Stevens, the former lead singer of famed Tower of Power, and the acclaimed Vocal-ease group.

There's definitely something for everyone in this family event.

If you wish to join the car show or to march in the parade, print out an application at www.celebrateantioch.org or contact Betty Smith or me.

See you, family and friends, on the Fourth.

Walter Ruehlig

Celebrate Antioch Foundation board member

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