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SAN DIEGO – This Fourth of July is expected to be busier than ever in San Diego after a year of canceled celebrations due to the pandemic. Expecting sizable crowds for the weekend’s Big Bay Boom, Harbor Police are reminding residents and visitors to celebrate safely.

“We were anticipating last year to be the busiest because last year Fourth of July fell on a Saturday and it was 2020,” Harbor Police Lt. Victor Bañuelos said. “It also happened to be the 20th year they would have been celebrating.”

But as this year’s holiday still falls on a weekend — with many also getting Monday off of work — Bañuelos expects the city to be bustling with visitors.

As a reminder, he says alcohol containers and alcoholic beverages are not allowed. There’s also no smoking in the parks, Bañuelos said. Police recommend those catching a glimpse of the Big Bay Boom stick to grassy areas and avoid blocking sidewalks or streets when setting up for the show.

Parking lots open at 6 a.m. and are expected to fill up quickly. There also will be strict parking enforcement with tow trucks on standby.

Shelter Island tends to fill up the quickest since it also has a launch ramp for boats and typically is closed off by about 5 p.m. on the Fourth of July.

“If you’re joining us on a boat, I would launch from National City Pepper Park or from Chula Vista J Street Park,” he said. “You can launch from there and that way you can also avoid a lot of traffic when you leave.”

The number one offense for boaters is speeding, but officials are also reminding everyone out on the water to stay at least 1,000 feet away from the barges and have enough life vests on board.

Parks along the harbor close at 10:30 p.m. every night and open at 6 a.m.  

Catch all of the action of the Big Bay Boom during FOX 5’s hour and a half special program starting at 8 p.m. on Sunday, July 4. The show features a behind-the-scenes look at what makes it possible before the fireworks show running from 9 to 9:30 p.m.