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Lighting up the night

Fireworks show makes La Crescenta Elementary playground the place to be.

July 05, 2010|By Andrew Shortall

Thousands of people crowded into the La Crescenta Elementary School playground to catch a fireworks show on the Fourth of the July.

"It just wouldn't be the Fourth of July without fireworks," Mary Lou Grove said. "We've been coming here for years, and it's always a great show."

The Crescenta Valley Fireworks Assn., a nonprofit organization, has been putting on the event for four years now. Everyone in attendance was encouraged to be a kid again as they entered the elementary school's playground, lawn chairs and coolers in hand, to celebrate the holiday.

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"The Fourth of July is a celebration of our country and our freedom," said Rick Dinger, committee member of the association. "It's a great tribute to those fighting abroad on our behalf, especially during wartime."

Dinger said the playground would be packed with about 5,000 people.

"By the end of the night, they'll be packed in here like sardines," Grove said. "Wherever they can find a space they'll set up camp. It's an awesome show though and definitely worth it."

Before it was dark enough for fireworks, people were enticed to sample some of the food being offered or go for a spin on one of the several carnival rides.

"My favorite part is the rides and fireworks," Sydnee Wells said. "It's fun hanging out with family and friends."

Sydnee has come out to the show three other times before with her family. Her mom, Sansamee Wells, said the event is an opportunity to support the community, which is appropriate on the Fourth of July.

"Today is about patriotism and our independence," Sansamee said. "It is a time to reflect on what our founding fathers went through and remember those in the military who are serving us right now."

Dinger said the event provides people an opportunity to celebrate on a budget, without having to travel far.

"We do a lot of fundraising and bring in sponsors, so it's only $5 a person," Dinger said. "Parking at the Rose Bowl is more expensive than that, and we have a top-notch fireworks show, so it's a great combination."

Although the show attracts 5,000 people to the playground, it doesn't cover the $35,000 cost to put on the show. Dinger estimates around 100,000 people enjoy the show from outside.

"We encourage people who get to enjoy the show from outside our gates to donate," Dinger said. "If you can send us a few bucks, we'd really appreciate the support."

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