Celebrating the Fourth: Nevada City, Grass Valley celebrate Independence Day with neighborhood parade, fireworks display | TheUnion.com

Celebrating the Fourth: Nevada City, Grass Valley celebrate Independence Day with neighborhood parade, fireworks display

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Special to Prospector


Parade Route and Fireworks Display details are available at http://www.cityofgrassvalley.com

For those who prefer to stay in the comfort of their own homes, NC Media is airing a virtual parade and fireworks display on their broadcast channels.

While the annual parade that alternates between Grass Valley and Nevada City will not take place this year, and the Nevada County Fairgrounds will remain dark rather than continue the long-standing tradition of hosting multitudes of residents as we celebrate our nation’s birthday, this Fourth of July will be celebrated with a different sort of parade and live fireworks display.

When the two Chambers of Commerce decided they would be unable to put on the their full Fourth of July celebration, City of Grass Valley Mayor Lisa Swarthout said City Manager Tim Kiser suggested it would be nice to be able to at least save the fireworks, so they began looking for a safe location and to raise funds to pay for them.

Soliciting private donations to fund a fireworks display, City of Grass Valley officials say keeping the tradition going is an effort both to honor our nation, but also to keep private citizens from using illegal fireworks which could prove to be dangerous.

Swarthout said “We have so many things canceled or postponed and the community is really needing something that is going to bring us all together and I think the fireworks display has always been a very popular community activity. So we just felt like if there was a way to salvage this and do something really great for the community right now, and kind of bring people together under the auspices of celebrating our nations’ birthday, it would be a big win for everybody.”

“Even though we are in the age of COVID-19, we still really needed to do something to acknowledge the holiday. It’s very important. We are hopeful that people will come out and enjoy it and have a safe and sane Fourth of July.”— Lisa SwarthoutGrass Valley mayor

Kiser said that before approving the event, city council members were adamant about a couple of conditions to have the fireworks show.

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“One of those conditions was finding a location so people could watch from their neighborhoods, from their homes, and not have to go to the fairgrounds or gather in a group to be able to see them. So, the city spent a lot of time trying to find the perfect location,” said Kiser.

With that in mind, officials are reluctant to disclose the exact spot, but instead Kiser said, “Look to the Dorsey Drive interchange, the fireworks will be on the top of the Springhill area.” He added there are several parking areas people who live outside the area can drive to and park – especially in the Glenbrook Basin area.

Swarthout said, “I presented it kind of like a drive-in movie. Potentially people could park in the Glenbrook area and shopping centers, but no social gatherings and all social distance. People need to use their judgement.”

A partial statement from the Grass Valley City Fire chief reads, “The community fireworks display on July 4th in the City of Grass Valley offers an opportunity to view a great show under controlled and regulated conditions conducted by professionals with firefighters on sight during the display.”

“Personal fireworks are completely illegal (in the cities and county),” said Swarthout. “Without offering any alternative, we believe that people would probably drive out of county and buy them — which you can, 30 minutes away in Placer County — and bring them back up and use them illegally. We really feel that putting on a community show takes away the need for people to do that.”

In addition to the free fireworks display, city officials will be taking to the streets earlier in the day with a mobile parade that will come to residents, Swarthout said. “This is a nice collaboration between Grass Valley and Nevada City. The parade was supposed to be in Nevada City this year and is, obviously, canceled. So our city management decided we could use city vehicles – fire trucks, public safety and public works – and we could have a parade through the city streets of Grass Valley all the way up through Nevada City.”

The elaborate route will wind through many neighborhoods along the way beginning at 10 a.m. at Grass Valley City Hall and returning to City Hall some two hours later. Look for the detailed route on the city of Grass Valley home page.

“A lot of work went into this to make sure we are providing proper COVID spacing and thought for that, for our community. It’s just to bring some resemblance of a normal Fourth of July. I think everyone in our communities has been faced with COVID and the changes, the sheltering at home and the constant issues of things being canceled. We just feel that even though it’s only going to be for a couple of minutes on each street, it is going to be a little something to remember it is the Fourth of July, maybe get a little bit back to normal and hopefully lift the spirits of everyone on this great holiday, and move on through the rest of the summer,” Kiser said. “With everything that has gone on these last few months, we needed some positive things for the community. When the fireworks got canceled (at the fairgrounds), we saw this as an opportunity to do something for free and positive and bring some enjoyment.”

Unlike the event traditionally held at the fairgrounds by the chambers of commerce which also serves as a major fundraiser for those organizations, this fireworks show is simply for the enjoyment of the population. The display should begin at approximately 9:30 p.m. with a couple of early warning shots to give people the opportunity to find a good view.

Businesses who made the event possible include Cranmer Engineering Inc., Hills Flat Lumber, Peters’ Drilling and Pump Service, Tru-line Builders, 49er Breakfast Rotary of Nevada City, A&A Air Conditioning and Heating, Stucki Jewelers, Economy Pest Control, New York Life — Kyle Smith, agent, C&D Construction and the Dorsey Marketplace.

“Even though we are in the age of COVID-19, we still really needed to do something to acknowledge the holiday. It’s very important. We are hopeful that people will come out and enjoy it and have a safe and sane Fourth of July,” said Swarthout.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com.

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