Thousands head to Santa Cruz to celebrate America beachside

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KGO) -- People celebrated America's birthday by hitting the beaches to enjoy the beautiful weather. Thousands flocked to Santa Cruz's Main Beach to show off their patriotism.

"It's little more crowded than I anticipated," said Lori Gookstetter, who was visiting from Seattle. She came with her purse designed in red, white and blue.

The 4th of July holiday also brought out many families, like the Quinones from Dublin.

"We got chicken, we got ribs, we got shrimp," said grillmaster Theresa Quinones.

She came with the essentials to BBQ for her entire family. "Just having a good time for America," she said.

The holiday is a special day for many Americans, especially veterans who fought for freedom.

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"This is what we all have sacrificed for," said Vietnam veteran Antonio Quinones. "I bring my family down here every year."

What's noticeable is the stepped up police presence. Officers are on maximum enforcement to remind visitors that alcohol and fireworks are not allowed on the beach.

"We have extra officers down here both on foot patrol, vehicles and ATVs as well as the fire department and extra lifeguards," said Sgt. Jon Bush with the Santa Cruz Police Department.

The extra patrols making beachgoers feel that much safer on this patriotic holiday.

For more stories, photos, and video on the Fourth of July, visit this page.

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