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Atwater poised for citywide Fourth of July celebration


Atwater’s annual Fourth of July community blast — a longtime favorite of Merced County residents — will be returning for its 61st year with a full day of events all over town.

The Run for Independence, hosted by the Merced Running Club, kicks off the day at 7:30 a.m., beginning and ending at Ralston Park. The run includes both 2-mile and 5-mile options. Race and registration information is available online at:

The big, and always impressive hometown parade will begin at 9 a.m. at the corner of Elm Ave and Winton Way, and will proceed down Broadway until it concludes at Juniper and Third Street.  The theme this year is a simple, but convincing call to action: “Let’s Celebrate the 4th of July in Atwater!”

There is still time for anyone interested in participating in the parade. Information is available online at

The Festival at Ralston Park will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and like every year, it’s FREE to attend. Visitors will find an assortment of wares from local artisans, as well as food vendors and information booths.

This year will feature an increase in the number of food vendors, which should alleviate the one downside of the popular event — long lines. New vendors this year will be featuring “aguas frescas,” giant soft pretzels, and America’s favorite corn dogs.

In addition to the many booths available, the hosts of the event have partnered with other local organizations to enhance the festivities. The APC’s beer garden will feature live music, and the Atwater Women’s Clubhouse will again be hosting the famed Rotary BBQ Ribs and Beer patio.

At 6 p.m., the party makes it way to the Castle Commerce Center. There will be a concert by the band “Flashback” at 7 p.m. Once the sun goes down, attendees can enjoy the city’s renowned fireworks display. The cost for the fireworks show is $15 per carload, or $5 per walk-in. Visitors are encouraged to arrive early, as available parking ran out last year due to the popularity of the display.

Because the event is put on without any assistance from the city, event organizers always welcome donations from the public, which are tax-deductible and allow them to continue this Atwater tradition.

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