Here at Nook, we have a passion for people, places and properties. There is a reason that we say people first, for what makes a neighborhood special if not the people who live there? Welcome to #TastemakerTuesday, where we’ll feature the visionaries in our favorite nooks who are dedicated to building a better community through their talents.
So many amazing Orange County neighborhood nooks have 4th of July celebrations, and we wanted to highlight one with a rich heritage. Over one hundred years ago, 1904 to be exact, 500,000 people visited Huntington Beach to commemorate both independence and the first electric passenger train arriving in Huntington Beach. The Pacific Electric Railroad landed in Huntington Beach, Bay City (now Seal Beach) and Newport Beach, soon causing real estate values in the area to nearly triple. They even renamed Pacific City to honor Henry Huntington, the owner of the new trains for the area.
In honor of this milestone and our country, Huntington Beach celebrates every year with their 4th of July Celebration. The O.C. Register called it “the best way to understand Huntington Beach, and connect to its history”. One of the reasons why this event is so unique lies in its mixture of small town air shows, tug-of-wars and a Pancake Festival with celebrities, bands, the “largest Independence Day parade west of the Mississippi River” and a grand fireworks display to cap it all off!
Because the 4th is on a Tuesday, visitors and community members spread their 4th of July festivities over three days, starting on Sunday the second. The Pier Plaza Festival runs the entire time from 9am-10pm. If you haven’t been to the Pier Plaza yet, it’s an artistic and architectural marvel. The Public Works and Community Services Departments commissioned local artists Lloyd Hamrol and Terry Schoonhoven to design and construct a functional amphitheatre with Huntington Beach history depicted in grand murals of glazed tile. Taking their inspiration from European waterways, Pier Plaza combines grassy knolls, cement steps and open spaces near the ocean that allow the concerts and entertainment to literally move you.
Sunday’s line-up includes Rockstars Music, Cosmic Reaction, Westwind Productions and Moving in Stereo. Monday’s entertainers are Alyssa Walker, Olivia Ooms, Danny Maika, Sabrina Lentini, Roots of Mine and Hanna Eyre & The Ashleys. On the actual 4th you can see Ragdoll, Aubrey Peeples Mox, Surf’s Up (a Beach Boys Tribute) and the after party is an 80’s Tribute! That’s a great weekend line-up.
Local celebrities for the Parade showcase some of the Huntington Beach values: support for the military, civic leaders, artists, social good, community and fitness. Their Grand Marshal Tim Conway Jr. is a local radio personality and son of Tim Conway from the Carol Burnett Show. Teen Grand Marshall Hanna Eyre was a contestant on Season 12 of “The Voice” and attends Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA). Military Grand Marshals the “Sidewinders” of the Navy’s VFA-86 Squadron will perform the 4th of July traditional Parade Fly Over, with both pilots hailing from Huntington Beach. Dave Sullivan serves as the Community Grand Marshall, celebrating his numerous community achievements that include co-authoring and collecting signatures for The Save Our Open Space Charter Amendment, a former City Councilmember and co-sponsor of the city adopting US Marines from Camp Pendleton to support troops during deployment.
Rachel Osterbach and her mother Laurie are Co-Celebrity Guests. Rachel is a prominent voice in the Down Syndrome community, serving as ambassador by sharing her stories and expertise in how young adults can live and be employed with down syndrome. Rachel was appointed twice to Governor Brown’s State Council on Developmental Disabilities and is one of the subjects of “Born this Way”, an Emmy winning A&E docuseries on young adults who have Down Syndrome. Rounding out the Parade’s Celebrity Guests are actress and athlete Amber Nichole MIller, Wrestling and UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz, singer/songwriter MOZ, songwriter and “Nashville” actress Aubrey Peeples, plus The Blues Brothers “trying to stay one step ahead of the cops”.
The 9pm Fireworks show is at the Huntington Beach Pier. Entry is free but you need a ticket to get VIP bleacher Seating. Depending on the ages of your kids or size of your party, a ticket could save a lot of headache. The organizers allow you to start staking out your unreserved spot at 7am that day.
For more of the best Fourth of July celebrations in Orange County, including Anaheim Hills, Balboa, Brea, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Dana Point, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, La Palma, La Habra, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Tustin, Villa Park and Yorba Linda, here’s a great link.