Celebrate 4th of July safely, valley authorities urge

local@modbee.comJuly 3, 2013 

Celebrating Independence Day shouldn't end with partygoers in a jail cell, or worse. Authorities will be on patrol today looking for those who choose to use illegal fireworks or get behind the wheel after drinking. They warn there will be plenty of consequences that follow the risky behavior.

Law enforcement officials throughout Stanislaus County will be on patrol today looking for banned fireworks. Under state law, those cited in connection with illegal fireworks face fines of up to $50,000 and jail terms of up to one year. State law holds parents liable for any fire damage or injury caused by children using illegal fireworks.

Anything that darts, explodes or flies — and some fireworks can soar to 300 feet — is strictly forbidden because it can start vegetation fires and ignite shake roofs. Other types resemble small bombs and can be extremely dangerous, officials say.

Only "safe and sane" fireworks approved by the state fire marshal are allowed.

For those out of control on the road, the California Highway Patrol's maximum enforcement period started Wednesday evening and continues through Sunday as officers look for drivers who've partied too hard. The Fourth falling on a Thursday this year means a four-day weekend for many.

The CHP will have as many officers as possible patrolling highways and rural roads. Last year, nine people died in crashes over the holiday throughout the state, and CHP officers arrested 479 people on suspicion of driving under the influence.

In San Joaquin County, fire and law enforcement officialsalso are reminding residents to celebrate safely this Fourth of July. Stockton Fire Chief Jeff Piechura said the holiday is always marked by spikes in fires and fireworks- related injuries. He urged residents to take proper precautions when lighting fireworks and stressed that children should be kept at safe distances.

"Every year, we see increases in grass and brush fires, and we also see an increase in injuries caused by fireworks," Piechura said. "Fireworks are explosive devices and they burn hot. Anytime you play with those sorts of energy pieces for enjoyment, it can cause injuries, so please be safe. Keep your children away from them, and when you're lighting off fireworks — approved safe and sane fireworks — please do so in a safe location away from grass and brush."

Authorities urge Stanislaus County residents to help identify those using or trafficking in illegal fireworks by calling the nonemergency dispatch number with details at (209) 552-3911.

The Record newspaper in Stockton contributed to this report.


INDEPENDENCE DAY FESTIVITIES

• MODESTO

Today, 9:30 a.m., downtown — The 139th annual Modesto Fourth of July Parade. The parade features marching bands, floats, performers and more. The parade moves from 10th and F streets to J Street, then up 11th Street and back to I Street to 17th Street. The theme is "Proud to Be an American." The parade is organized by the Modesto Kiwanis Club, and the grand marshals are John and MaryAnn Sanders. www.modestojulyparade.com

• TURLOCK

Today, 10 a.m. downtown — The day begins with a traditional Fourth of July parade down Main Street, followed immediately by a car show (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and street fair (noon to 5 p.m.). The Patriotic Parade will begin at East Main and Palm streets, then continue to West Main Street and Broadway Avenue. The fire and police departments will be in Central Park with McGruff the Crime Dog, Blue Santa and a fire engine. Kids can learn safety tips and talk with officers and firefighters. Fireworks show starts at 9:30 p.m. at the Stanislaus County Fairground, 900 N. Broadway. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.; admission is free. (209) 634-6459

• RIPON

Today, 10 a.m. to 9:15 p.m., Ripon Elementary School, 509 W. Main St. — Celebration with parade, carnival games and family activities. Music concert featuring Tongue & Groove and fireworks display. 10 a.m. parade, 5:30 p.m. carnival; 7 p.m. concert; 9:15 p.m. fireworks. Free admission; cost for activities. (209) 599-4411. www.ripon4thofjuly.com.

• MANTECA

Today, 6 to 10:30 p.m., Big League Dreams, 1077 Milo Candini Drive — The city's celebration will feature vendor booths, a softball tournament, live family entertainment, children's rides, a Teen Zone and fireworks. $2 for age 13 and older; free for 12 and younger. (209) 456-8600

• GUSTINE

Today, 10:30 a.m. — Festivities start with a parade along Fifth Street. There will be afternoon activities at Henry Miller Park, then fireworks at dusk at Gustine High School.

• ATWATER

Today, 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. — The Run for Independence starts the day at 7:30 a.m. Parade starts at 9 a.m. at Foster's Freeze on Winton Way, turns left onto Broadway, left onto Third Street and ends at Ralston Park. Reviewing stand is on Third Street in front of the APC Hall. Festival at Ralston Park is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with entertainment from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., including Mary Monaghan singing the national anthem. Gates at Castle Airport open at 6 p.m. for concert and fireworks show. Performing are Aliana Peau, The Stepp Brothers, Crosseyed, Mary Monaghan and Cynthia Huddleston & The Juke Joint Jokers. Castle admission $5 per carload; no walk-ins. Gates close at 9 p.m. for fireworks. www.atwater4thofjuly.org

• LIVINGSTON

Today through Sunday — Carnival, with its Drop Zone, giant Ferris wheel and many more adult and kid rides, begins today, from 3 p.m. to midnight. The Fourth of July Festival at Memorial Park and Livingston High School runs from Friday through July 7. The free celebration will include a talent show all three days, a fireworks show (9:20 p.m. Friday), bands including Second Tradition, Rhythm Blenders, Libertad Nortena, Nite Flite, Las Jefas, The Valley Cats Band, Los Kinos and La Sonora Dinamita. Carnival tickets are on sale for 50 percent off, along with unlimited ride wristbands, available in advance only. Get carnival tickets at Livingston City Hall and at tonight's street fair in Livingston. For more information, including talent show registration, go to www.livingston4thofjuly.com or call (209) 277-1402.

• COLUMBIA

Today, 11 a.m., Columbia State Historic Park, off Parrotts Ferry Road — Columbia's Glorious Fourth of July Celebration. Flag raising and cannon fire by the Columbia Foot Dragoons is at 11 a.m., followed by noon parade. After the parade will be a Great Mother Lode Brass & Reed Band concert, dancing in the street and contests popular in the early days of Columbia — a greased-pole climb, bucket brigade, nail-pounding, watermelon- and pie-eating, egg relay race and egg toss, cake walk, and five-way tug-of-war. Admission is free; contests are $1 each. (209) 536-1672 or www.visitcolumbiacalifornia.com

• DON PEDRO RESERVOIR

Today, 9:30 p.m. — Fireworks on the Water celebration. Arrival before 8 p.m. is recommended. Community nonprofit organizations will assist with parking and will have food and beverages available for purchase. Don Pedro Reservoir, Bonds Flat Road. $15 per vehicle. (209) 852-2396

• ANGELS CAMP

Today, 1 to 6 p.m., Utica Park — Patriotic Picnic in the Park. Featuring the U.S. Navy Sea Cadet Band of the West. A salute to veterans, lots of old-fashioned games with prizes and trophies and a variety of food. (209) 736-1333, www.gocalaveras.com/calendar-of-events

• SAN ANDREAS

Today, 3:30 p.m. — The community celebrates the Fourth with the Calaveras Community Band BBQ and Concert, at Turner Park, 287 Treat Ave. Barbecue includes smoked tri-tip or chicken for $9. After the barbecue, the concert begins at 6:30 p.m. The concert includes patriotic favorites and new swing tunes featuring several soloists from the band. www.gocalaveras.com/calendar-of-events.

• MARIPOSA

Today, noon — The Kiwanis Club holds its July Fourth Fireworks Spectacular at the fairgrounds. Starting at noon, water slides, bounce houses, children's games and face painting will await the children. Food and beverage booths will be available. Picnic fare is welcome, and there's plenty of room for spreading a blanket in the shade. The Gold Bowl stadium opens at 7 p.m. for the fireworks show, which starts at dusk and lasts about an hour and a half. Tickets are $7 for spectators 11 and older. A color guard, bands and more will provide pre-show entertainment. (209) 742-7354

• MOKELUMNE HILL

Today, 7 a.m. — Veterans pancake breakfast in the town hall starts the day. Parade at 11 a.m., followed by children's games and races in Shutter Tree Park. Mokelumne Hill has one of the oldest continuous July Fourth parades in the Mother Lode, with riders on horseback, antique cars and trucks, floats, cowboys and, as the finale, a display of fire engines and trucks. For more, call Susan or Terry Weatherby at (209) 286-1241.

• LOS BANOS

Today, 5 p.m. — The Los Banos Chamber of Commerce presents its 17th annual fireworks show with musicians, food, bounce houses and a free fireworks display. Gates open at 5 p.m. Veterans Memorial Stadium, Pacheco High School, 200 Ward Road. Free. (209) 826-2495

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