It’s July 4th in Santa Cruz, which means thousands of pie-eyed tourists will be giving the locals puzzled looks when they tell them there are no fireworks here tonight.
More accurately… there are no sanctioned fireworks here tonight.
Santa Cruz, for whatever reason, decided years ago to not put on any sort of official fireworks show during the height of the summer tourist season, opting instead for an off-peak celebration in October, on the anniversary of the city’s founding or incorporation or something. Not sure which founding that celebrates, really – sort of like the Spanish discovery of a hill on which to plant a flag and a mission.
Anyway, the residents of this fine city, as well as thousands of folks from around the Central Coast area, will, in fact, descend on the beaches of Santa Cruz today, fog or shine, and unleash a spectacle of insanely unsanctioned proportions as night falls.
That’s right — it’s amateur night. Rumor has it that some pros show up, too, but the last time I was over by the harbor on the 4th of July, I saw toddlers walking through the smoke while roman candles popped over their heads and spinners sparked away on the sand.
It was chaos. It always is.
And yet, the local newspapers, every year, run their routine stories about how the police are really cracking down this year, checking bags and coolers at the entrances to all the city’s parks and beaches.
As much fun as it is to dodge bottle rockets sailing by our heads, I’m getting a little too old for that crap, so our Independence Day plans at the moment are pretty wide open. We’ll stop by a local bar this afternoon to watch our hard-to-love Italy take on Germany in the World Cup semifinal.
Prediction? Uh, that’s a dangerous business, but we’re hoping it doesn’t go to penalties. If it does, expect Italy to find a way to lose. Otherwise, I’ll say Italy 1-0 on a goal scored off a corner or free kick by Totti headed in by anyone.
Happy Independence Day, y’all.