San Jose political leaders celebrate Independence Day in many ways
Fireworks are illegal in San Jose and most of Santa Clara County. Photo by Katie Lauer.

    The Fourth of July wouldn’t live up to its name without a barbecue featuring hot dogs and burgers, a sweet sunburn after a long day by the pool or the beach, or red, white and blue everything — a stunning tribute to the country we all call home.

    But let’s not forget the can’t-miss event of everyone’s holiday: Fireworks. Where will you be watching those stunning, glittering sky explosions this year? We asked some of the South Bay’s local politicians to share with us their favorite spots.

    San Jose Councilmember Johnny Khamis

    Almaden Lake

    “It’s free and family friendly, plus there’s a lot of kids’ activities,” said Khamis. “You can’t miss the food trucks, parade, live music and of course we have a very long lasting professional fireworks display — sometimes it’s 18 minutes long.”

    The annual event boasts about 30,000 people, runs all day, but if you’re trying to score a good seat for the fireworks display, Khamis suggests you get there early to make the most out of the event’s “fun-filled” activities.

    Cost: Free

    Where: 6099 Winfield Blvd., San Jose

    When: 3 p.m., fireworks start at 9:30 p.m.

    San Jose Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco and Santa Clara County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg

    The Rotary Club of San Jose at Discovery Meadow 

    Fourth of July has a special meaning to Carrasco — it’s not just Independence Day, it was also her mother’s birthday. After celebrating her mother’s birthday, the councilwoman would gather with her family to watch the fireworks display downtown near the Del Monte Cannery where her family worked and where she grew up as a kid.

    “It was a perfect ending to a beautiful celebration. We would ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ until the very last flicker lit up the night sky,” said Carrasco. “I was thrilled when they were brought back to downtown for future generations to enjoy. This is still my favorite place to watch the sky light up on our nation’s and my mother’s birthday.”

    Likewise, Ellenberg has shared many family memories there as well.

    “As a longtime resident of San Jose, I loved taking my kids to see the fireworks at Discovery Meadow when they were little,” said Ellenberg. “I was thrilled when the Rotary Club brought them back a few years ago and haven’t missed a display since.”

    Cost: Free

    Where: 180 Woz Way, San Jose

    When: 6 p.m., fireworks start at 10:00 p.m.

    Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilmember Teresa O’Neill

    City of Santa Clara Central Park

    This year’s “extravaganza” at the park is a favorite among the Santa Clara City Council. The event will feature picnic activities such as carnival games, face painting, crafts, bounce houses, a free outdoor swimming pool for the public and live music all day.

    “I love watching the fireworks, listening to great live music and enjoying the company of thousands of our Santa Clara family and friends,” Gillmor said.

    “This is a great spot to see fireworks,” added O’Neill. “You can sit right there in the park and get a real up close and personal view.”

    Cost: Free

    Where: Central Park, Santa Clara

    When: 12 p.m., fireworks start at 9:30 p.m.

    Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese

    As for Cortese, he said there’s no place like his home in the East Foothills of San Jose.

    “I’m a very social person but there’s nothing like watching fireworks from my home on the hillside with family and close friends,” said Cortese.

    As for a close second — the San Jose Giants Excite Ballpark, where the city’s minor league baseball team will be playing against the Rawhides from Visalia, California.

    Cost: $59.00 per ticket, fireworks display free from outside stadium.

    Where: 588 E. Alma Ave., San Jose

    When: 6:45 p.m., fireworks start after the game ends.

    Contact Nadia Lopez at [email protected] or follow @n_llopez on Twitter.

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