SAN DIEGO - Ceremonies and events will be held throughout San Diego County Thursday to celebrate Independence Day.
The Port of San Diego will host its 19th annual Big Bay Boom fireworks show over the San Diego Bay at 9 p.m. The 20-minute show will be choreographed to music, which will be broadcast on multiple iHeartMedia radio stations. The show will also be broadcast throughout Southern California on FOX 5 and KTLA.
Multiple venues around the waterfront will host watch parties for the fireworks show, including the San Diego Convention Center, the InterContinental San Diego, Shelter Island, Harbor Island and the Coronado Ferry Landing. Local officials have encouraged residents to use public transit to get to the show.
U.S. Naval bases San Diego and Point Loma will hold Independence Day celebrations, including a 21-gun salute at Naval Base San Diego. Naval Base Point Loma will hold its annual Freedom Festival at its Harbor Drive Annex, which is free and open to military families, retirees, reservists and employees of the U.S. Department of Defense.
The San Diego County Fair will close at the Del Mar Fairgrounds with a daylong celebration of Independence Day, featuring a parade, a performance by the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton's First Division Marine Band and a fireworks show at 9 p.m. The fair will open one hour early at 10 a.m. to accommodate the day's festivities.
The California Center for the Arts will host the city of Escondido's 56th annual Independence Day Festival and Fireworks, featuring an opening ceremony by members of American Legion Post 149, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1513 and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 70. The event will also feature a national anthem singing competition and a fireworks show at 9 p.m.
In south county, the Chula Vista Firefighter's Foundation will host its 11th annual pancake breakfast at Fire Station 7 to raise funds for the foundation's community programs and fire safety programs. Later in the day, the city of Chula Vista will host its annual Fourth Fest celebration of Independence Day at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center, which will also include a fireworks display at 9 p.m.
In Mira Mesa, the Mira Mesa Town Council will host its 45th annual Fourth of July Parade, featuring Kansas City Chiefs running back and Mira Mesa High School alumnus Damien Williams as the event's grand marshal. San Diego City Councilman Chris Cate, who represents Mira Mesa, is also expected to attend.
"Damien Williams is a proud Mira Mesan and returns regularly to the school's football field," Cate said. "He is often seen volunteering, giving advice, and motivating the players."
The parade is scheduled to start at noon at the Mira Mesa Senior Center.
In East County, the city of Santee and the town of Julian will both host Fourth of July events. At 10 a.m., Julian will host its annual Fourth of July Parade, beginning at Julian Union High School. At 2:30 p.m., Santee will host its 18th annual Santee Salutes July 4 celebration, featuring a fireworks show at 9 p.m.
For residents with pets, the San Diego Humane Society and the county's Animal Services Department recommend that pets stay indoors with access to an area in the house where they feel safe and are protected from the noise and light of fireworks. Pets should also be microchipped and have an identification tag to ensure that they can be located if they do escape their home.
"There is typically a spike in the number of stray animals that we receive the day after July Fourth," said SDHS President and CEO Gary Weitzman. "That's why it is so important for pet parents to plan ahead and make sure their animals are safe during the celebrations."
Lost pets in the county's unincorporated areas can be reported to the county's 24-hour emergency line at 619-236-2341. For residents within the county's incorporated cities, the San Diego Humane Society's facilities in San Diego, Escondido and Oceanside will open at 9 a.m. July 5 to receive stray pets.