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Flags Wave, Fireworks Burst Forth on Independence Day

Fourth of July marked by South Coast parades, pie and pyrotechnics

Despite an overlay of gray from a stubborn marine layer, red, white and a bunch of blue was evident throughout the South Coast on Sunday as proud Americans of all ages celebrated Independence Day.

The festivities got off to an early start in Montecito with the annual Montecito Firefighters Association’s Pancake Breakfast. That was followed by the Village Fourth Parade, which had the air of a small-town celebration among friends as a contingent marched from Upper Manning Park to Lower Manning Park. The party included food booths, music, games and competition for the Montecito Cup, in which local elementary school students competed. A tug-of-war, sack race and pie-eating contest determine the winner.

Later Sunday, the 48th annual Spirit of ‘76 Parade moved through the heart of downtown Santa Barbara on State Street, where several of America’s historical battles were represented. The Oxnard High School band set the scene with patriotic tunes and several thousands of viewers gathered to watch Revolutionary War riflemen dressed in character — a real crowd pleaser as the milita fired blanks from their guns into the air. An impressive array of Vietnam War-era military vehicles also wowed spectators, and even included an Army helicopter mounted on a flatbed truck.

Dozens of drivers from the Model A Club of Santa Barbara drove their vintage vehicles, adorned with flags and streamers, followed by a more modern group of drivers, several dozen motorists on Vespas. Fire trucks from the Carpinteria-Summerland and Santa Barbara fire departments also garnered cheers as they trailed at the tail end of the parade.

The parade, sponsored by the Spirit of ’76 Association, was followed by a patriotic rally at Chase Palm Park.

Meanwhile, Stow House hosted the 36th annual Fourth of July Celebration, complete with a barbecue, hayrides, pony rides, an engine and classic car show and live music.

As night fell, thousands of specatators were primed for pyrotechnics.

In Santa Barbara, SPARKLE’s 2010 Freedom Celebration featured live music at West Beach, including a 50-piece combo band from the Air National Guard Band of the Southwest and the Band of the West Coast.

In Goleta, the 14th annual Goleta Fireworks Festival at Girsh Park was preceded by family-friendly fun, including face painting, raffles, inflatable jumpers and local band Area 51.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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