Here's how Bay Area is celebrating 4th of July

ByAmanda del Castillo and Lena Howland KGO logo
Wednesday, July 5, 2023
Preferred seating a must for Alameda's 'nation's longest' 4th parade
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Billed as the longest July 4th parade route in the nation, Alameda prepared to welcome 60,000 people to the island, across a 3.3-mile stretch.

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- For the Town of Danville, tradition runs deep when it comes to celebrating the Fourth of July.

In a city made up of a little more than 4,300 people where folks are known for coming out a day early to put out chairs or tape to snag a prime spot, Monica Daigle-Kleisath says for her, every year, the trip from Walnut Creek is well worth it.

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"Oh my God look at this, this is wonderful," Daigle-Kleisath said. "I don't worry about any stupid things happening because it's safe. There's a lot of police presence so it's wonderful, I support them."

This year's parade theme is 'Celebrating our Educators' with Chavonta Edington, the Contra Costa County teacher of the year serving as grand marshal.

For locals like John Barakett out of Danville, he says it's refreshing to see the crowds back, with event organizers aiming for around 30,000 to 40,000 spectators.

"During COVID, obviously everything was shut down and it was small the year after that but after that, it's been coming back and you look at how many people are here today, it's just amazing!" Barakett said.

Billed as the longest July 4th parade route in the nation, the City of Alameda prepared to welcome 60,000 people to the island, across a 3.3-mile stretch. Tuesday marked the city's 46th Annual 4th of July Parade.

"If you live on the parade route, someone will host a party in your yard if you don't," Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft told ABC7 News. "It's just so much fun to see everyone come out."

She joked, "I wasn't always mayor and also in the parade, so that adds another logistical layer of complication... But we mayors, we multitask!"

The red, white and blue is serious business for longtime residents who have found tried and true traditions for front row seats. Hundreds of lawn chairs lined Grand Street overnight. The area offers prime parade real estate in what we're told is the heart of the route.

"We start with the chains, because you have to protect your turf," resident George Phillips said.

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His set up includes a pop-up tent, a buffet table, and two full-service bars. Still, he admits his decade-old system only works if he's able to lock down seating.

"The chain is because, people don't steal 'em, but they get aggressive and move 'em so they have room. So that's what the chain is for," he explained.

Well worth the effort, as an estimated 2,500 participants paraded by. Equestrians, dance troops, antique cars and a number of community groups, local businesses, bands and more took part.

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More than seating placements during the parade, there is deep pride for the city of Alameda and pride for the country on full display.

"We come together to celebrate our heritage and just everything we have today," the mayor told ABC7 News. "And to share it with others."

This year's July 4th celebration is the second in Alameda since the height of the pandemic. In the crowd, neighbors, newcomers, friends and family- all here for the party.

And of course, Phillips with his preferred seating.

"I haven't seen anybody go quite to the extreme that we do, with the chains," he admitted. "But as you see, all the chairs are still here."

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