OCEANSIDE — City Council was clear that July 3 would be the date for its annual fireworks show and voted unanimously to approve the date Oct. 16.
City Council members referenced the spectacular July 3 show it held for its 125th anniversary last year.
“We started a new tradition for Oceanside and have outgrown the old one,” Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said.
Prior to last year’s fireworks show Oceanside had not had a fireworks display since 2008.
Former July 4 fireworks displays were launched from the waters off Oceanside Pier. Environmental concerns and a tight city budget did not allow for fireworks for the past three years.
In 2012 a healthier city budget enabled July 3 fireworks to return to a new location. They were set off at El Corazon Park and a section of Rancho Del Oro Road adjacent to the park was closed to provide a viewing area.
Due to the fireworks relocation police Chief Frank McCoy said July 3 would be “more manageable” for police security patrol.
“July 4th is a beach day,” McCoy said. “It’s a heavy staffing day for us. I would not recommend adding fireworks to that particular day.”
Council members shared some concerns about large crowds showing up for the July 3 city event and the sentiment of having fireworks on July 4th.
They also said business owners were supportive of the July 3 date for fireworks.
The El Corazon Park launch area is at a high elevation and allows residents in many areas of the city to see the fireworks from their neighborhoods.
No spectators were allowed on the 465-acre park that is still under development. A senior center is on site with 500 parking spaces, but it was closed during the fireworks display due to its close proximity to the fireworks launch area.
The closed section of Rancho Del Oro Road provided a viewing area for thousands of spectators. It also allowed space for food trucks to park and an entertainment stage.
Oceanside High School and El Camino High School bands provided entertainment. Sanchez said the bands were excellent and she would like to see them again at the next event.
“It was a great family event on a shoestring budget,” Sanchez said.
The anticipation is that when park development is completed park grounds would provide a great viewing area.
Currently temporary soccer fields are being developed at the park. City Manager Peter Weiss said they would not be completed by next July and part of Rancho Del Oro Road would be closed off again for viewing.
City Council suggestions were to add more traffic control and more food service.
Last year food trucks at the event and restaurants in the area ran out of food due to the larger than expected crowd.
“They didn’t anticipate so many people,” Sanchez said. “There were four food trucks and they all ran out of food.”
Councilman Jack Feller recommended additional traffic control to monitor traffic snarling illegal u-turns after the event.