4th of July: Thousands pack SF waterfront to watch NorCal's biggest fireworks show

ByLuz Pena and Tim Johns KGO logo
Wednesday, July 5, 2023
Thousands pack SF waterfront to watch 4th of July fireworks show
Northern California's biggest 4th of July fireworks show went off with a bang Tuesday night in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Northern California's biggest Fourth of July fireworks show went off with a bang Tuesday night in San Francisco.

One of the most popular places to watch was Aquatic Park.

"I'm excited to see the colors of the fireworks and just have a good time," said Jacob Wong.

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Earlier in the day, thousands packed the city's waterfront along The Embarcadero with people coming from both near and far.

Olivia Hamre and her family are visiting from Sweden.

"It's very exciting. We were actually talking about that when we booked the trip. We were like, yeah, we do want to stay here for the 4th of July," Hamre said.

Back at Aquatic Park, the atmosphere was festive.

"We just wanted to feel this environment and be here. The fireworks are definitely the pull," said Smehali Marimuthu.

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Illegal fireworks are once again lighting up the Bay Area skies on this Fourth of July.

Many telling us they'd actually been camping out all day.

That includes the Perez family, who drove out from Contra Costa County early at nine in the morning.

Octavio and Concha Perez say watching the fireworks show has become a family tradition.

They've been out here every 4th of July for the past eight years.

"Come out here and see good people, good times. And with all these things going on in this world, it's good to see you can still have a good time," Octavio said.

The Perezs say they know foggy weather conditions can make actually seeing the fireworks a gamble. But for them, the holiday family time makes it all worth it.

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

For the city of Danville, tradition runs deep when it comes to celebrating the Fourth of July.

"We see it as an experience for the whole day. And then at the end, hopefully, we see fireworks. If we don't, oh well," said Concha.

Earlier in the day, Pyro Spectaculars by Souza gave us a behind the scenes look into the preparation work leading up to the show.

"It's like Christmas for Santa Claus. It's a busy day," said Pat Dyas, show producer for Pyro Spectaculars by Souza.

Considering that last year the fog made it basically impossible to see fireworks, this time the experts have a different strategy.

"So we decided this year we will start the display at the deck of the barge," said Dyas and added, "We have filled in the lower level that wasn't filled in last year. The show will still go up to 1,200 to 1,500 feet at the upper level but there will be things to see at the lower level too."

Caroline Farley and her family made the trip from Canada to San Francisco especially for the holiday.

"It was a dream to see an Independence Day in America with the Americans," said Farley and added, "I know Americans love their country and I wanted to see that. I'm quite excited to see how it's going to be tonight."

Nicola Golden and her family booked hotel rooms in San Francisco to stay the night after the show.

"Just having fun and having family time enjoying all the festivities," said Golden.

San Francisco Fire wants you to keep something in mind in case you see illegal fireworks in your area.

"Please leave 911 open. If you feel it absolutely necessary to call to report this please call 311 in San Francisco. When you call make sure you can give an exact location and a description of the person," said San Francisco fire spokesperson, Jonathan Baxter.

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