The nation’s Independence Day is celebrated on Monday, July 4, and like many communities, Healdsburg plans a party.
A morning duck race will be held in the Plaza, with live music and other low-impact recreation. Then will come time for the sundown fireworks display, produced by the American Legion, from the Healdsburg High practice fields.
This will be the first time in three years these events will be held, not surprisingly. COVID shut down the public gatherings for both events in 2020, and last year it was the severity of the drought that ultimately canceled the fireworks display, though the kids’ events at the Plaza went forward.
Along with the increased fire risk and the lingering COVID uncertainty, the 2021 kaboom was kiboshed because of “the potential impact of additional spectators, since our neighboring communities had to also cancel their fireworks shows,” as the city announced at the time.
A similar hesitation might apply this year, as Cloverdale called off their fireworks mid-month when the contracted pyrotechnicians pulled out, though the Lions Club managed to line up a replacement, and the July 4 show will go on.
Petaluma announced the decision to call it off on June 26, attributing the decision to cancel to drought concerns as well as scheduling difficulties that arose with their contracted fireworks operator.
Windsor has traditionally held their Independence Day celebration on July 3, and they will do so again this year. As of this writing, the cities of Sonoma and Santa Rosa will move forward with their evening fireworks events on July 4.
Healdsburg’s fireworks will start about 9:30pm and continue for a strong 40 minutes until the dazzling climax. Although the city’s write-up of the event says “this year’s show is larger than in past years,” it’s hard to imagine how it can be.
“In order to ensure spectator safety with the larger show, we need to restrict access to the shooting area that encompasses the high school sports field complex,” the city states on their event calendar. Spectator viewing will be available at Fitch Mountain Elementary just across University Avenue, and in the surrounding neighborhoods, as well as other vantage points throughout the city.
Firing off your own fireworks is illegal in the City of Healdsburg, so they encourage folks to watch the public show instead.
Mark Themig, Healdsburg’s community services director, said that if the weather is ominous—either from being overcast or a red-flag warning—the event might be rescheduled for another time later in the summer. It will be sponsored by the Healdsburg Tourism Improvement District and the City of Healdsburg.
Kid’s Parade and Duck Dash
The Healdsburg Tourism Improvement District also has a hand in the other big event this day, but the Healdsburg Sunrise Rotary is the main producer of the morning “Duck Dash” at the Healdsburg Plaza. It begins at 10am at the Plaza, when attendees can sign up for the parade, which begins at 11am.
Youngsters are encouraged to dress in costume and arrive on bikes, tricycles and in wagons adorned with red, white and blue decorations, which makes the Kiddie Parade a colorful spectacle.
The Duck Dash—a highly-competitive float of rubber duckies down a water course—is held around noon. Family activities continue until 1pm, including live music and many kid-friendly activities, such as lawn games, veggie races (why should zucchini have all the fun?), face painting and a demonstration of the art and science of bubbles from “bubblesmith” Sterling Jonson.
There will be free lemonade, hot dogs, snow cones and popcorn for kids as well.
Live music from the bandstand includes the Russian River Ramblers, the Healdsburg Community Band and Court ‘n’ Disaster, which self-describes as playing “rock and country music with humor and style.”
Kids from grades K-6 can build their racer at the Healdsburg Regional Library on Friday, July 1, from 3 to 5pm. Racers can be either “upcycled” from other materials (water bottles, etc.) or built from Legos. The Sunrise Rotary will also help kids build their racers at the Plaza on the 4th, starting at 10am.
Both the Duck Dash in the Plaza and the fireworks display are extremely popular events, so get there early or plan on walking from wherever parking is available. Especially after the fireworks, both pedestrian and vehicle traffic can result in gridlock as departing spectators head for home with the last shooting star.
To make a donation to support this year’s fireworks, make a check payable to “Healdsburg American Legion Fireworks” and mail to Healdsburg American Legion Post 111, P.O. Box 281, Healdsburg, CA 95448-0281.