OCEANSIDE — There are few places more red, white and blue than Oceanside in July. This Independence Day weekend brings three days of patriotic celebrations to the city.
On July 2, the Independence Parade marches down Coast Highway 101. The following day, on July 3, city anniversary fireworks launch from El Corazon Park. Finally, on July 4, the Yankee Doodle Dingy boat parade cruises around Oceanside Harbor.
This is the 22nd year for the Independence Parade. More than 120 entries will start at Wisconsin Street and head to Pier View Way.
Among parade participants will be 20 floats, three marching bands, two twirling teams and six car clubs, which include vintage military vehicles from Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Mechanized Museum and Al Bahr Shrine Tin Lizzies.
Longtime community volunteer Chris Gow is this year’s parade grand marshal. Fittingly the theme of the parade is “volunteers are the heart of the city.”
Gow has been volunteering for nonprofits for 55 years, and serving the North County LGBT Center, MainStreet Oceanside and Friends of Oceanside Parks since their inceptions.
Always of service, on the day of the parade she will be handing out American flags as a volunteer for Friends of Oceanside Parks before taking her seat in a classic car to lead the parade as grand marshal.
The tradition of volunteers passing out 3,000 flags to spectators is a beloved part of the city celebration.
The parade begins at 10 a.m. It will also be televised on KOCT TV.
The following day a fireworks show celebrates the city’s anniversary.
To accommodate the event Rancho Del Oro Road between Oceanside Boulevard and Mesa Drive will be closed to traffic, and filled with more than a dozen food trucks and three entertainment groups before fireworks begin.
Fireworks can be viewed throughout most of the city.
For those who want a front row seat, parking adjacent to the viewing area is available at Ocean Ranch Corporate Center off of Oceanside Boulevard, and El Camino High School on Rancho Del Oro Road.
“It’s a fabulous view, they’re right up over our heads,” Eileen Turk, city Parks and Recreation division manager, said.
About 10,000 spectators are expected to flock to the launch area. No seating is provided. Families are welcome to bring chairs and picnics.
The viewing area opens at 5 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m.
On July 4, the Yankee Doodle Dinghy Parade cruises around the harbor for the 15th year.
Boats are decked in red, white and blue. Crews dress in patriotic outfits, sometime as notable historical figures.
“The Yankee Doodle Dinghy Parade is part of the community spirit that exists in Oceanside Harbor and makes it a unique maritime place,” Paul Lawrence, city harbor manager, said.
The boat parade is open to all dinghies 12 feet and under. Preregistration and attendance at a skippers meeting is required of participants. No fee is charged.
The dinghy parade starts at 1 p.m.