Fourth of July — like Christmas, but with fireworks

Laraine Fisher

On the first Fourth of July, Americans celebrated with bonfires, bells, muskets and cannons.

Today, we show our patriotic spirit a little differently, with flags, parades and fireworks. As Independence Day approaches, there’s plenty going on in Los Angeles to celebrate the most American of all the American holidays.

Amerifest 2005 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena is an event for singles, couples and families, so just about everyone is welcome. There will be live patriotic-themed music from the Pasadena POPS Orchestra, along with open, first-come first-serve seating, so get there when gates open at 6 p.m. Admission is $10 and free for kids under 5. The fire works start at sundown, which these days is between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.

The Hollywood Bowl Fourth of July Spectacular will be held at the Bowl and will feature performances from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, who will play the traditional patriotic songs along with music from Disney films and Disneyland theme park rides. Couples and families are encouraged to come early and picnic, as the park will open around 4:30p.m. Since parking can be a hassle for big events at the Bowl, the MTA offers free shuttle rides up the hill from the Hollywood and Highland Redline station for Metro ticket holders, which is fairly cheap.

For those looking to celebrate the holiday on the water, the Queen Mary in Long Beach is offering a Fourth of July celebration with a “Country Salute to the USA” concert, featuring the bands SHeDAISY, Neal McCoy and several others, along with tours and exhibits throughout the evening. No need to worry about barbequing beforehand, as the Queen Mary has several restaurants and onboard hotel in case the booze gets to you and driving home from Long Beach just isn’t in the cards. Doors open at 1 p.m. and admission is $35 for adults, and kids under 11 are free.

There will be food, soda and alcoholic beverages available, along with mechanical bull rides. In the past, the Queen Mary has been able to put on a fireworks show, but due to public safety demands by the city, the cost became to too high this year, marking the end of a 21-year run.

The coastal beach city of Santa Barbara will host its own Fourth of July celebration for those willing to take the drive up the coast on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. The festivities will take place near the infamous State Street between Stearns Wharf and the harbor.

Kicking off the celebration will be live bands, which start at noon, and a slew of food-serving vendors. There will be 3,000 chairs set up on the beach for those who have paid to sit back and watch the music, but if the seats sell out, the fireworks can still be seen from various areas along the beach, because fireworks, are generally quite visible.