Friday, November 16 , 2018, 4:10 am | Fair 47º


Freedom Rings in Santa Barbara on Fourth of July

Parade, music and fireworks mark Independence Day — but not in Goleta.

It was Independence Day as usual Friday in Santa Barbara, with a parade, a baseball game, a concert and fireworks. It was another story entirely in Goleta, where the city’s well-known Fourth of July festivities were all canceled because of the Gap Fire.

Thousands of spectators lined State Street on Friday afternoon for the 42nd annual Spirit of ‘76 Association parade. Organized by Paul Lamberton and a small army of volunteers, the parade had an eclectic mix of participants, including the Santa Barbara High School Marching Band; the Corvette Club Santa Barbara; the Don Riders, Santa Barbara High’s acclaimed low-rider bike club; the Santa Barbara Gymnastics Club; Mama Pat’s Inner Light Community Gospel Choir; and a host of restored World War II-, Korean War- and Vietnam War-era vehicles.

Dignitaries included Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara; Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum and Council members Iya Falcone, Dale Francisco, Roger Horton, Grant House, Helene Schneider and Das Williams; Old Spanish Days 2008 Spirit of Fiesta Jessica Marquez and Junior Spirit Ashley Almada; and Goleta Teen of the Year Valerie Mehlschau, runner-up Leah Mireles and finalists Isabelle D’Arcy, Joy Sun, Wolf Thielmann and Justine Wieland.

The Santa Barbara Foresters semi-pro baseball team took on the Maxim Yankees later Friday at Pershing Park while, at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden, guest conductor Dianne Wittry led the Santa Barbara Symphony and the Santa Barbara Choral Society in the annual Patriotic Concert. The “Travel Across America”-themed music included patriotic favorites, light classics and a touch of bluegrass.

Friday evening, spectators thronged along Cabrillo Boulevard and the waterfront for SPARKLE’s annual fireworks show. The Ike Jenkins and the Monday Madness Jazz Band and singer Lisa LaVie kept the crowd entertained before the first fireworks were launched into the night sky.

Goleta residents, meanwhile, were watching fireworks of a different sort as the Gap Fire continued to menace foothill neighborhoods. Because of the fire’s threat, the annual Fourth of July fireworks show at Girsh Park and the Goleta Valley Historical Society‘s Independence Day celebration at Stow House were canceled.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at [email protected]

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