For 28 years, the 4th of July fireworks celebration in Peralta Park has been a beloved annual Anaheim tradition. Whether there would be a 29th year was thrown into doubt earlier this spring when Mayor Tom Tait and his council allies, pursuing a political vendetta, yanked city funding.
Led by Councilwoman Kris Murray, the Anaheim Hills Community Council, the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce and Councilwoman Lucille Kring went into overdrive to raise funds to cover the resulting deficit and ensure the Independence Day fireworks celebration would take place.
The good news is they have been successful, and Anaheimers will once again be able to partake of and enjoy the annual July 4 extravaganza, as they have for many years.
The festivities will begin with the Anaheim Hills Firecracker 5K/10K at 7:00 a.m. at Santa Ana Canyon Road and Imperial, followed by a pancake breakfast from 8:00-9:00 a.m. Following the breakfast is the biggest-ever Yankee Doodle Dog Show at 9:30 a.m.
The traditional patriotic community parade kicks off at 1:00 p.m., with 72 participating groups and organizations – the biggest in the event’s history – celebrating the 241 years of limited, constitutional government founded on our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
A community festival at Peralta Park with food vendors and live entertainment begins at 3:00 p.m. Normally, 10 to 12 food vendors participate – this year the number is 32. The line up of four bands will play from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Festivities are capped off by a patriotic fireworks show at 9:00 p.m. Although safe-and-sane fireworks were legalized by City Council action after a city-wide vote in 2014 authorizing that action, they remain illegal in Anaheim Hills due to brush fire concerns. The community fireworks display is therefore a major vehicle for east Anaheim residents to commemorate liberty and independence in the manner commended by the Founding Fathers.
Anaheim resident Jim Cain, who has helped spearhead community efforts for the July 4 celebration, credits Murray, Kring the AHCC and the Chamber for rescuing the event. Speaking at the Anaheim City Council this week, he said, “Without them, this event would not be possible. We are now on track to move forward with the celebration of the Firecracker run, but we still have some work to do.”
Following the March 8, 2017 council vote at which he cast the deciding vote to terminate the existing city fireworks program, Mayor Tait publicly pledged his support in securing funding for the fireworks show. However, that pledge was privately conditioned on the unusual request to permit the mayor and his council aide to peruse the Anaheim Hills Community Council records.
When he spearheaded the council action to give the Anaheim Union High School District a permanent slice of the city’s budget pie, there was no request to audit the AUHSD’s books. And when the mayor proposed giving the Anaheim Union High School District Foundation control of revenues from annual fireworks sales in Anaheim, there was no demand that the AUHSD Foundation open its books for inspection.
The Anaheim Hills Community Council would have welcomed the fundraising support of the Mayor. It still would. One has to wonder if the unwarranted request by Tait to inspect AHCC books is a merely a poison pill privately inserted into a public promise of support. And one further wonders whether, given his complicity in almost killing this year’s festivities, if Mayor Tait will still show up and ride in the parade.