By Elaina Wilson
Come one, come all, and let freedom ring.
It’s that time of year when Atwater is gearing up for its annual Fourth of July celebration — an unrivaled, day-long extravaganza of patriotism and community that dates back nearly 60 years.
This year is a special one because the town itself is celebrating its Centennial Anniversary, and so the theme on July 4th will be: “Celebrating 100 Years of Atwater.”
The annual Run for Independence will be held bright and early on the Monday morning of July 4, with check-in opening at 5:45 a.m. for the 2-mile race and the 5-mile race, and the start time for both race at 7:30 a.m. near the corner of Grove and 2nd streets and Ralston Park.
The parade is slated to kickoff at 9 a.m., traveling down Winton Way from Fir, turning onto Broadway, proceeding onto 3rd Street, and passing through Ralston Park and concluding at Juniper. This year’s Grand Marshal is Sandy Schiber, the superintendent of the Atwater Elementary School District.
The festival at Ralston Park will be held from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., at which time the festivities will relocate to Castle Commerce Center. Vendor space is still available (with the exception of food service) and interested individuals can find information and/or applications online at: atwater4thofjuly.com.
Once again, Atwater will be partnering with The Tarmac at the Castle Commerce Center, which is hosting “Red, White and Brews” from 3 p.m. until approximately 11 p.m. in conjunction with the nearby fireworks show. Tickets for the Tarmac event can be purchased online at: Eventbrite.com. This is a family-friendly event complete with games and mocktails. Everyone under 18 will have free entry with a ticketed adult. Interested in going VIP? Blaker’s Venue at the Tarmac has an exclusive area available for rent complete with private service and the best seats in the house for music and fireworks. More information online at: email@example.com
Firework lovers and spectators will be able to enter the gates to Castle Commerce Center beginning at 6 p.m., with an entrance fee of $10 per vehicle and gates closing to incoming guests at 9:15 p.m.
Longtime local radio disc jockey, Dave Luna, will be the MC for the event. It will feature a stage performance by the band Mike Hammer and the Nails with special guests Rob Tracy and Mike Boykin. To conclude a day of fun-filled activities, one of the best fireworks shows in the Central Valley will light up the skies at 9:30 p.m. Arrive early as to not miss out on the fun!
Support the nonprofit Atwater 4th of July Committee by purchasing a commemorative T-shirt at one of the three local credit unions – Merco Credit Union, Merced Schools Employee Credit Union, and Travis Credit Union. Don’t worry about what to wear and grab the 2 for $25 deal or buy one T-shirt for the low price of $15.
“We are very thankful for the community, local businesses and sponsors that allow us to continue to keep this tradition alive,” says Andrea Baptie, a committee member.