Fireworks Displays Dwindle, Other Events Continue

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

June 6, 2024

This year’s Fourth of July on the North Coast is coming down to just one public fireworks display, after Cambria organizers recently cancelled their annual show.

Cambria American Legion Post 432, announced that it was canceling the public fireworks show and family picnic at Shamel Park this year, after winter storms eroded away the sandy beach where the fireworks company sets up the rocket launchers and they lost the wide berth needed from the public for a safety zone.

Instead, Post 432 will hold 4th of July festivities at the Cambria Vets Hall, 1000 Main St. They had the same problem last year, according to a news report, but were able to use an alternate beach site for the set up. But that site too is now unusable.

Post Cmdr. Dave Ehlers told The Tribune that they were going to seek permission from State Parks Department to use its adjacent beach next year. The Tribune reported that process involves an environmental review and permission from the local State Parks Superintendent, but it could also require a Coastal Development Permit from the Coastal Commission, an agency that has for many years frowned on big fireworks displays in the coastal zone, which includes Shamel Park.

Cambria’s annual event includes a fun family-friendly community picnic, with live music, lasting all day. That too was canceled.

The Post will have its 2024 Independence Day celebration, honoring military veterans and all Americans at the Vets Hall. There will be music, food, games and they’ll play Bingo!, too. 

With Cambria’s fireworks a dud this year, celebrants will just have Cayucos to see fireworks, as Morro Bay will again celebrate the holiday without them.

The Recreation Department is holding its annual family picnic at Tidelands Park on July 4, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

The annual red, white & blue, Bike Parade will meet at noon at the Morro Creek Pedestrian Bridge and parade up the Embarcadero to Tidelands Park.

There’s a Paddle Parade (for paddleboards, canoes, kayaks, surfboards, “non-motorized” craft) in the harbor launching at 2 p.m. from Coleman Beach. Patriotic costumes are encouraged.

But on July 4, Cayucos is where the majority of folks will be. The Annual Fourth of July festivities, sponsored by the Lions Club and the Chamber of Commerce, kicks off at dawn with the sand sculpture contest on the beach by the pier.

A street fair with vendors will take over Front Street from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and the wonderful Independence Day Parade will march up Ocean Avenue starting at 10 a.m. A Lion’s Club barbecue will follow the parade.

If you’re planning on attending the parade, bring a chair to sit on and get there early, as the wacky, homespun, doo-dah parade attracts upwards of 25,000 people lining the Avenue. 

Then after a day in the sun on the beach, fireworks will be shot off from the pier starting shortly after sundown (about 9:15 p.m.).

Normally, the festivities like the barbecue and Bingo! with the Lioness Club would be held inside the Vets Hall. But that facility is still under re-construction. The Vets Hall should be ready to go for Independence Day 2025.

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