By Michael Berick
It’s not hard to find fireworks on July 4th. Just look up. However, if you are looking for more bang for your buck, Southern California is home to many interesting Independence Day events.
Head to the hills – Big Bear Lake, to be precise – for that city’s annual Fireworks Spectacular, where the pyrotechnics launch from a barge anchored in the middle of the lake (630 Bartlett Rd.; www.bigbear.com). Spectators can line the lake or watch the free 8:45 p.m. show from a boat. The local Rotary Club also hosts a holiday barbeque ($25-$100) from 4:30-9:30 p.m. with food, drinks and a carnival midway with games, crafts and other entertainment.
Spend some time with a queen when the Queen Mary hosts an All-American 4th of July party from 2-10 p.m. (1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach; www.queenmary.com). Activities span the decades, from the Roaring ’20s to the present. You can play vintage carnival and arcade games, enjoy radio-show re-enactments and magic shows, plus the fireworks, of course. $39.99 adults, $19.99 ages 4-11.
Picnic on a really big lawn at the 12-acre Grand Park’s free Fourth of July Block Party, where a variety of musical acts will keep you entertained until the fireworks launch from the rooftop of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at 9 p.m. The park will open at 1 p.m. so you can find a comfy patch of grass (200 N. Grand Ave., L.A.; www.grandparkla.org) and start your picnicking.
Color your Independence Day rose, white and blue by attending Americafest at the Rose Bowl (1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, www.rosebowlstadium.com). A Pasadena tradition for 88 years, this holiday happening starts with an afternoon festival outside the stadium at 2 p.m. The Bowl’s show starts at 7 p.m. with a motorcycle stunt show and musical performances before the fireworks show at 9 p.m. $13-$25.
Watch vehicles vroom before fireworks go Kaboom! in Pomona. In the annual show at the Fairplex (1101 W. McKinley Ave.; www.fairplex.com/Kaboom), monster trucks and motocross riders rev up the excitement beginning at 8 p.m. before the skies are filled with a colorful pyrotechnical display at 9:20 p.m. $16-$22; free for ages 2 and younger.