As Fourth of July comes around each year, so do the community traditions: barbecues, reunions, and, of course, the city of Santa Clarita’s annual Spirit of America Fireworks Spectacular.
Residents flocked to the central hub, Westfield Valencia Town Center, to celebrate Independence Day with loved ones, and to observe the dazzling fireworks display accompanied by a live soundtrack from KHTS radio.
Residents, and even visitors, of all ages came to enjoy another year of festivities, remarking on the importance of gathering.
“My favorite thing is spending time with the family, watching the fireworks, eating snacks,” said Dianna Ruiz, 17. “We always have guacamole.”
Ruiz and her sister, Roxanna, 10, have been attending the show for nearly their entire lives, while their other family members, such as Joaquin Silva, are relatively new.
Silva had excitedly added to Ruiz’s guacamole comment that there would also be a helping of ceviche for the night; he also recognizes the strength of the community after his fourth year of attendance:
“We come to meet new people, new friends. This area is amazing; I love Santa Clarita. The people [here] are friendly.”
While they had both secured their spot in the late afternoon in anticipation, Silva and Ruiz always have realistic expectations for the people they encounter each year.
“One Fourth of July we had a speaker and we were dancing on the sidewalk. Everyone was dancing and laughing, so I think that is what I enjoy the most [about being here],” said Ruiz.
Friendly faces are a given, since many natives have been attending every year for decades. Shannon Kane describes his favorite experiences as an attendee for nearly 38 years.
“I pretty much enjoy watching the fireworks and being with the community. I work with Spectrum, so 80 or 90% of these people are my customers. I probably run into half of them all the time,” Kane said.
While joking that he most looked forward to finding someplace to eat for the night, Kane was excited to spend time with his family, although a bit apprehensive about his dogs, Charlie and Chloe: “Hopefully they’ll behave.”
Most importantly, Kane appreciates the shared values that are commemorated every year.
“This is a good community for American pride; there’s a big community for that. It’s nice to see a bunch of people that share your values, too.”
Ray Quijada and his family moved out to Santa Clarita in 2017, and he says it was a “change for the better. The city is green. It’s a nice city.”
As this is nearly his third year being in Santa Clarita for Independence Day, rather than going to Big Bear, Quijada and his family were dedicated to finding a perfect spot to appreciate the local fireworks.
“[We secured our spot] in the morning. It was 7 [a.m.]. We just dropped everything off.”
While the fireworks display is an integral part of the night, the beauty lies in the intangible.
“I am looking forward to seeing all the pride, the real pride, the pride that matters: the American Pride. There’s good vibes all the way around,” said Quijada.
A San Fernando native, Chris Rodriguez and his family have been coming out to Santa Clarita for two years, drawn by benefits such as parking, shade and the overall atmosphere.
“My brother-in-law recommended it [here]. It’s convenient. The parking lot is what drives us in. The fact that we can pretty much set up camp here and hang out. Besides the fireworks, it’s tranquil here,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, while awaiting a friend, also mentioned the benefit of the location of Santa Clarita.
“We’re meeting with a friend who lives in Palmdale, so this is a really good halfway point for us.”