After more than a year stuck at home and sans much celebration, Santa Clarita Valley residents gathered Sunday to watch as fireworks lit the night sky.
Last year’s Fourth of July celebrations — including the city of Santa Clarita’s Spirit of America Fireworks Spectacular — were canceled, making this year’s festivities even more special to many.
“Everyone is having fun right now — it’s about time,” said Canyon Country resident Paul Oliva, waiting with his kids in the Westfield Valencia Town Center parking lot ahead of the fireworks show.
“Fireworks are my favorite part of Fourth of July,” added his 6-year-old son, Ryan. “Last year we didn’t get to see any, so I was super excited for today.”
The Olivas arrived early — at Ryan’s request — to get the best spot with plenty of games to keep them occupied as they awaited the show.
For Santa Clarita resident Richard Reyes and his extended family, the return of the fireworks was also much anticipated, as it’d been a tradition for them.
“We’ve been coming here for 10, 11 years, so to not be here last year kind of sucked, but it’s exciting to be back,” Reyes said. “The whole atmosphere, everybody out here together — love it.”
And for Robert Bingham, who traveled to Santa Clarita to celebrate the holiday with Reyes and the rest of his family, this year’s Independence Day celebration felt akin to the ‘60s.
“I don’t know what it is, but seeing everyone together celebrating after COVID (is fantastic),” Bingham added.
Reyes was among those who arrived early Sunday morning to secure the best firework viewing spot, with some, like Valencia resident Bradley Song, even bringing an RV.
“We’ve been here all day, barbecuing and celebrating,” Song said, as he threw a bean bag onto a cornhole board.
He and his family often camp, so they felt it was only right to day camp in the parking lot.
“We have all we need right here,” Song’s son Edward said, chuckling. “It’s been great to hang out together and wait for the fireworks.”
After much anticipation, when the fireworks finally did begin, spectators could be heard cheering and clapping, while some even chanted “USA.”