By Sofia Nagy
From Diamond Street to Huntington Drive, Arcadia residents (and dogs) dressed up in red, white and blue Saturday, July 1, for an early Independence Day celebration. It was Downtown Arcadia’s first annual Patriotic Festival & Fireworks community event.
“It’s the first time in history that Downtown Arcadia is having fireworks from the First Avenue field so that all the people here are able to enjoy this amazing firework show,” said First Avenue Middle School Principal Dr. Semeen Issa.
Merry Jill Finstrom, one of the event’s chief promoters, also said that the event is unique due to the fact that it’s the first time they have fireworks on display.
“It’s a true community collaboration between the [Arcadia Unified] school district, the city, Downtown Arcadia businesses, the fire department and the police department among others,” Finstrom said.
For children, there was a water balloon zone, bubble play, arts and crafts, face painting and Mr. Fun Balloons. For adults, Arcadia’s own Gil Family Estates Wine and Mt. Lowe’s Brewing Company provided libations.
There were also many local Arcadia food favorites dishing out fares, such as the Ta’cool Taco Factory, Dulce Europa, Nomad Ice Pops, Fahrenheit Pizza, Dina’s Dumplings, Dreamy Creations and more. Additionally, there was a big giveaway in which all who attended were able to participate. Some of the prizes given were: two Dodger tickets for July 4 Home Plate, a $60 gift card to Outback Steakhouse, a one night stay at Embassy Suites and a bike from Helen’s Cycles.
First Avenue Middle School provided the festival’s soundtrack with live music from its Music Club and Rock Band, which groups put together a performance with for attendees. At the same time, the school used this platform to have its Parent, Teacher, and Student Association (PTSA) raise funds for the Promotion Party for next year’s eighth-graders.
“We’re really lucky to be able to have a booth here today so we can raise money for our eighth-grade class that’s going to be graduating next year to have a big, fun party by selling water and snacks,” said PTSA member Shirley Yee.
“This has been a great partnership and collaboration between the city, the local merchants and our school district to bring a great community together,” said Arcadia Mayor April Verlato. “I’m really glad we could do this, and we’ve all worked together so well. It’s really been a pleasure, and I’m thrilled that it came off so well.”
Dr. Issa said that this event will be considered as an ongoing annual event if the people of Arcadia approve of it. “If it continues like this, then hopefully we’ll have it every year,” she said.
“There shouldn’t be any reason that we couldn’t continue to do this in the future,” Verlato said.