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No shortage of dazzling displays in Stanislaus County

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POSTED June 30, 2012 1:07 a.m.

What’s more American than apple pie, hot dogs, and baseball?

Fireworks, of course –  those loud, bright, colorful displays of mid-air flames that Independence Day just isn’t the same without.

Valley residents can get their fill of bombs bursting in air this coming week, with no fewer than 10 firework celebrations planned – alongside countless parades, festivals, carnivals, and car shows. The hardcore freedom-lovers can even structure their week to attend five separate firework displays.

The non-stop stream of festivities starts tonight in Hilmar, where the annual Hilmar Dairy Festival will be capped with fireworks. Sunday, Woodward Reservoir in Oakdale will hold their annual firework celebration.

Monday offers a brief respite from merriment, but on Tuesday three options await celebrants as they begin their Fourth of July vacation – a tractor pull in Gustine, fireworks at Don Pedro Lake, or fireworks following the Modesto Nuts game

The main event – as expected – comes Wednesday, when five local cities will celebrate Independence Day with a bang. Atwater, Gustine, Ripon, Turlock, and Modesto will all host parades and carnivals of some sort, with all but Modesto ending the day with fireworks.

Turlock’s celebration is among the most notable, and the largest the city will see since the 2008, when California State University, Stanislaus hosted its final fireworks celebration before budgetary difficulties ended the tradition. As many as 20,000 guests are expected.

 “The Fourth of July is going to be a heritage event in Turlock,” said organizer Al Seaton. “There’s no reason to go anywhere else.”

Turlock’s celebration will begin with the traditional 10 a.m. parade down Main Street. A new Fenders and Fireworks car show will immediately follow at the nearby Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, beginning at 12:30 p.m. That car show, with live bands, vendors, and a community barbecue where families can cook their own food, will transition into a fireworks celebration as night falls, with the Red, White and Boom show kicking off around 9:30 p.m.

Thursday presents another day of recovery, but the festivals start again on Friday with Livingston’s annual carnival celebration. On July 7, the final round of Fourth of July fireworks will bring the holiday to its end, with Livingston hosting a car show and the “biggest firework show in the Valley,” and Murphys presenting a day-long celebration of music, games, and fireworks at Ironstone Vineyards.

And if any merrymakers still want to party after a long week of fireworks, the Livingston Sweet Potato Festival will take place on Sunday.

— ALEX CANTATORE

209 Reporter

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