By Laurene Weste Santa Clarita City Councilmember July 4 is a day of summer fun, fireworks and lots of patriotic red, white and blue – but most importantly, it represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States as an independent nation. We use this special holiday to remember the historic milestone, as well as to honor our freedom and the women and men who courageously protect it. You won’t have to look far to find ways to celebrate American Independence Day in Santa Clarita. We love our nation and proudly display our pride by hosting multiple celebratory events on July 4. There will be much to do the Tuesday morning of Independence Day in historic Old Town Newhall, where the Santa Clarita Runners Club Independence Day races and the annual Santa Clarita Fourth of July parade will take place. Starting early, make your way to the 35th Annual Independence Day Classic at Newhall Park, presented by the Santa Clarita Runners Club. This annual event includes a 10K at 7 a.m., a 5K at 8 a.m. and a non-competitive children’s Kid K at 7:45 a.m. The 5K and children’s Kid K allow participants to race along the Fourth of July Parade route, and the 10K course will travel along Santa Clarita’s scenic South Fork Trail. Proceeds from this event benefit cross country teams of each of our six Santa Clarita Valley High Schools! Registration for all race events is required in advance and is available at scrunners.org. Runners looking to re-fuel and pancake lovers alike can enjoy the Santa Clarita Valley Rotary Club’s annual Pancake Breakfast, taking place from 6:45 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Roger Dunn Golf Shop, located at 24200 Main Street. After the race and pancakes, residents can enjoy the annual Santa Clarita Fourth of July Parade beginning sharply at 9 a.m. in Old Town Newhall. This year’s parade is themed The Emblems of the Land I Love: Celebrating America’s Independence, and will feature horses, floats, bands, vintage cars, military presentations and the world famous Wells Fargo stagecoach. The parade will travel two miles down Main Street, Lyons Avenue and Orchard Village Road before finishing at 16th Street. Since 1932, the annual Santa Clarita Fourth of July Parade has brought thousands of spectators together annually to celebrate our nation’s birth. For more information on the parade, visit scvparade.com. Just a friendly reminder, Silly String and SuperSoakers are prohibited at the parade and are illegal. Silly String can damage the vintage cars and SuperSoakers and Silly String spook the horses. Nothing can be thrown, rolled or tossed into the parade route while the parade is in procession. For your safety and your pets’, please make sure you bring water, wear a hat and hold on to your dog with a leash. We greatly appreciate your cooperation for a safe Fourth of July parade. The Independence Day festivities will cap off with a grand fireworks display – and in my opinion, one of the best fireworks show in the west! Residents are invited to a free Fourth of July Fireworks Show beginning at 9:15 p.m. at the Westfield Valencia Town Center. This is a very popular event so be sure to arrive early to allow plenty of time to find parking and a perfect spot to view the show. And remember, fireworks can be fun but they are also dangerous. Personal fireworks are illegal everywhere in the Santa Clarita Valley. Whatever you decide to do this Fourth of July, I hope you take the time to gather with family, friends and loved ones to cherish the country we live in and appreciate the sacrifices that were made to give us the independence we have today. Stay safe and have a happy Fourth of July! For up-to-date information about this year’s Fourth of July events, visit santa-clarita.com/Events or call the City’s Arts and Events Office at 661-250-3787. Mayor Pro Tem Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at email@example.com.