Merced County Times Newspaper
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Times Photos by John Miller

Atwater 4th of July celebration draws thousands

The Atwater 4th of July celebration drew thousands throughout the downtown area, Ralston Park, and Castle Air Force Base. From the Independence Eve concert the night before that drew a large audience of music lovers to the spectacular fireworks display on the night of the holiday, the was something for everyone.

The holiday celebration began with the Run for Independence, which drew athletes from all corners of the county as they tested their endurance against the patriotic event’s course that wraps its way through the town of Atwater.

Following the morning run, residents lined a parade route that ran from Broadway in downtown Atwater to Ralston Park. Residents cheered as patriotic floats and groups made their way along the parade route.

Special to this year’s parade was a presentation from Congressman Jim Costa to the McDaniel family. As a show of recognition to the years of support to the 4th of July celebration in Atwater and countless hours of volunteering to causes aimed at improving Atwater as a community, the late Greg McDaniel was honored by a plaque of recognition, with his contributions to the community formally acknowledged by Congressman Costa. The plaque was presented as part of a surprise to Pinky McDaniel, Greg’s wife, who accepted it alongside of their family members.

As the parade came to a close, those attending the festivities were able to make their way to Ralston Park, where dozens of vendors of every type were on hand. In addition to the chance to shop for unique products or seek out information from local community organizations, several performances were held on a center stage and young residents were able to cool off with sets of inflatable water slides.

Highlighting the evening was the fireworks show held at Castle Air Force Base. Each year, the celebration packs the venue with thousands of residents from throughout Merced County looking to celebrate the 4th of July, and this year was no exception. As residents waited for the main show to begin, live music acts took to the stage, with Kaye Bohler headlining the show.

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