Celebrate Independence Day in Santa Cruz County at these 4th of July Events


Santa Cruz County is a great place to spend Independence Day! You can fill your morning with parades, races, and pancake breakfasts at locations around the county. Looking for Santa Cruz fireworks? You can finish the day with a world-class fireworks show at Skypark in Scotts Valley. Or, enjoy all of the other great attractions, beaches and parks, food and drinks, and fun activities Santa Cruz County is known for. Have a fun and safe Santa Cruz 4th of July!

Details below are for 2014 unless otherwise noted.

WORLD'S SHORTEST PARADE

Celebrate the 4th of July in Aptos with a Pancake Breakfast, Parade, and Party in the Park. Start your morning off with a delicious pancake breakfast. Watch the parade on Soquel Drive between State Park Drive and Trout Gulch Road. After the parade, walk down to the Aptos Village Park for our Party in the Park! There will be food, vendors, music, and much more.

Where: Parade starts at Soquel Drive and State Park Drive and ends at Bayview Hotel (about .6 miles away)
Details: http://aptoschamber.com/category/event/, 688-1467, info@aptoschamber.com

SCOTTS VALLEY 4TH OF JULY FIREWORKS

Scotts Valley hosts an annual 4th of July celebration. The celebration opens with a parade along Scotts Valley Drive. Festivities continue at Skypark Park with game booths and classic Fourth of July grub -- hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream and pie. There is also live music followed by fireworks. This is the only fireworks show in Santa Cruz county.

For more information, call Scotts Valley Parks and Recreation at 831-438-3251.
Details: http://www.scottsvalley.org/July4.html

WILDER RANCH OLD-FASHIONED INDEPENDENCE DAY

Have a grand time enjoying the 4th with a family parade at noon, old-fashioned games, live Big-Band music, and delicious food. We'll be stepping back in time 100+ years ago to an ealy 1900's style Independence Day celebration including a noon family parade, games, children’s crafts area, live big-band music, living history demonstrations, historic speeches and flag-raising. To join in the old-tyme parade, dress up, bring an instrument or decorate a wagon, and join us by the chicken coop. The Suffragettes are sure to be there! Food and drink available for sale, or bring a picnic lunch.

Where: Wilder Ranch State Park, 1401 Coast Road, off Highway 1 in Santa Cruz
Details: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=26413

FIRECRACKER 10K

Since 1985 the Firecracker 10K has been a Santa Cruz Independence Day tradition offering a thrilling start to a day of family holiday fun. This challenging course begins at Harvey West Park, winds its way up the trail into the majestic hills of Pogonip park and descends back down through Santa Cruz's beautiful upper west side neighborhoods. Each runner receives a free pass to the Pop Warner Pancake Breakfast after an awards ceremony that features medals to the top five in five-year age groups!

There is a flat 5K criterium style run that makes three passes through the finish line area - great for runners and walkers of all ages and even better for spectators!

As always, the kids can participate in an easy going 1K fun run starting 30 minutes prior to the main event.
For more information, please visit http://www.santacruzfirecracker10k.org/

Where: Harvey West Park
When: July 4th


BOULDER CREEK FOURTH OF JULY PARADE

The annual Boulder Creek parade attracts more than 10,000 attendees every year.

When: Parade on Hwy 9, between Scarborough Lumber & Railroad Ave
Details: http://bcba.net/category/july-4th/

ROARING CAMP'S FOURTH OF JULY

Bop on over to Roaring Camp Railroad for a 1950s-style Fourth of July with a sock hop, hula-hoop contests, games, music and an all-American barbecue.

Where: Roaring Camp Railroad, Graham Hill Road, Scotts Valley
Details: 335-4484, http://www.roaringcamp.com/events#fourth_July


SPIRIT OF WATSONVILLE 4TH OF JULY PARADE

Join the Watsonville community for the city's annual Hometown Parade. The Spirit of Watsonville 4th of July Parade features car clubs, tractors, fire engines, antique cars, local non-profit agencies, equestrian units and the Watsonville Band. The parade starts at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church at Main St. and Freedom Blvd.

Where: Main Street, Watsonville
Details: http://cityofwatsonville.org/visitors/spirit-of-watsonville

FREE 4TH OF JULY COMMUNITY SWIM

Cool off with the family at the 4th of July Community Swim at the Simpkins Family Swim Center. Entrance to all the pools will be free and a BBQ at the Swim Center will benefit Supporters and Helpers of Arts, Recreation and Parks. If you love swimming and BBQ’s this event is for you! Bring your smiles, your bathing suits, and the whole family!

Where: Simpkins Family Swim Center, 979 17th Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Details http://www.scparks.com/special_events_freeswim.html

WATCH FIREWORKS FROM MONTEREY BAY

A great place to watch the Santa Cruz fireworks over Monterey Bay...is from a boat on Monterey Bay. Check out special Santa Cruz fireworks cruises on a sailboat or luxury charter boat.

SAVE OUR SHORES: POLLUTION PREVENTION IS PATRIOTIC

Join Save Our Shores on July 4th to help create cleaner, safer, more beautiful beaches by distributing trash and recycling bags to the public and encouraging them to take their trash home after their fun day on the beach. On the morning of July 5th, join Save Our Shores for the Star Spangled Beach Cleanup to help stop thousands of pounds trash and debris from polluting the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

When: July 4 or July 5
Where: Beaches and rivers throughout Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties
Details: http://saveourshores.org/volunteer/july-4th-and-5th/

FIREWORKS ON THE BEACH

There are no fireworks shows on Santa Cruz beaches on July 4th.

Please let us know if there's another event we should include on this list.

Legal Fireworks

Commercial displays of fireworks require a permit. Safe and sane fireworks, that don't fly or leave the ground, may be sold within the city limits of the City of Watsonville from July 1st through July 4th and may only be ignited within the Watsonville city limits from July 1st to midnight July 5th. Fireworks of any kind, including safe and sane fireworks and sparklers, are illegal in all other parts of Santa Cruz County, including unincorporated areas and the beaches. Fines for illegal use of fireworks can be up to $1,000 for each illegal firework and may result in arrest. For more information on the safe, legal use of fireworks in Santa Cruz, visit the City of Watsonville website and the Santa Cruz Sentinel website.

Fireworks Safety

There are "safe and sane" fireworks, which are sold legally in Santa Cruz County in Watsonville. Then, there are the other ones: fireworks that can blow off your hand or your head, with fuses that are too short or explosives too large. They are unregulated, illegal in Santa Cruz County, and dangerous. Look on the package and see the state fire marshall's seal. If it's not there, they aren't safe and sane. The reason Santa Cruz County regulates fireworks so strictly is to prevent injury, accidents, and wildfires. Please use fireworks responsibly for a safe and happy fourth for everyone!

Pet Safety
The sound of fireworks, even small ones, can terrify your pet. There are a few things you can do to help your pet get through the Independence Day festivities. Keep them home, preferably in a safe, secure, escape-proof room. Do not leave pets outside, even in a fenced yard, anytime fireworks might be set off. It is legal to light off fireworks in Watsonville for a few days before and on the day after independence day, so kep your pet safe for the entire week. Set up a comfy bed, food, and water, and keep the windows and curtains closed to help muffle the noise and block bursts of light. Make sure your pet is wearing correct identification and tags just in case he or she becomes scared and runs away from home. Microchipping also is a great precaution. Keep your pet away from used and unused fireworks, as well as alcoholic beverages, human foods, and other Fourth of July treats since many of these items can be harmful.

Make this fourth of July holiday a safe one for you, your family, your friends, your pets, and all of Santa Cruz County.