Before Alice was born, my husband and I lived in a second-floor apartment on the Miracle Mile.
One of my favorite Stockton memories is of craning our necks way out the kitchen window on Fourth of July and just catching the fireworks over the waterfront.
This year, the three of us are planning to walk over to the Mile for the Fourth of July Parade. (Maybe we'll even pull out her red wagon).
Honestly - and I know it's sort of corny - I love a parade. This one is free and starts at 10 a.m. at Lincoln Street and Harding Way. From there, it travels east to Pacific Avenue and north to Tuxedo Court. Reserved seating for the elderly and handicapped will be available on the lawn of Stockton School for Adults. Seating for recently returned veterans will be available at the AT&T parking lot.
As for fireworks, the safe-and-sane variety are legal throughout most of the county, including the cities of Stockton, Lodi, Manteca and Tracy. If you're looking to watch a show, here are some options:
Stockton: Events will be hosted by Stockton Ports and University Plaza Waterfront Hotel, in collaboration with the Stockton Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Banner Island Ballpark gates open at 1 p.m. for activities including a youth baseball clinic, a "Vintage Baseball Showdown" and live music. Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at stocktonports.com and cost $5. The hotel, meanwhile, presents its second-annual "All-American, All-You-Can Eat Barbecue Buffet," featuring live music, swimming in the hotel pool and other activities. Watch ballpark fireworks from the hotel courtyard. Tickets are $25 for adults, $12 for kids 5-12 and free for kids younger than 5.The event starts at 5 p.m., and space is limited. For reservations, call (209) 944-1140.
Lodi: A fireworks show over Lodi Lake will begin at 9:30 p.m. Earlier in the day, beer, hotdogs and snow cones will be available for purchase. Enjoy swimming, pedal-boating and kayaking from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Manteca: An Independence Day celebration will be held at Big League Dreams, featuring rides, food, live entertainment and special activity areas for children and teens. Gates open at 5 p.m. Fireworks are scheduled for 9:45.
Tracy: After a day of activities that include a hot air balloon lift-off and a parade, City of Tracy and Tracy Chamber of Commerce present a fireworks show at Tracy High School. Stadium gates open at 7 p.m. for food and entertainment. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $4 for adults and $2 for children and seniors.
Read on to make a parade-ready pinwheel...
Will we see you at the Fourth of July Parade?
To make a festive pinwheel to wave along the parade route, you'll need: paper; pinwheel templates (available below); glue or paste; scissors; pencils with eraser tops; and straight pins, thumb tacks or brass fasteners.
Step 1: Print and cut out the two sides of your template, then glue together, back-to-back.
Step 2: After the glue has dried, fold the square on the diagonal to the left and then to the right. When you're finished, you should have creases that make an 'X' across the square.
Step 3: Cut along each crease, stopping about 2 inches short of the center. Your square should now be divided into four wedges, joined at the middle.
Step 4: Bend the lefthand corner of one wedge down toward the center and hold it in place with a finger. Do the same with the left corner of the next wedge and so on until the pinwheel is complete.
Step 5: This part is a little tricky. Carefully push a pin through all four points where they overlap in the middle, as well as through the back of the pinwheel. Then push through the pencil eraser. Cut off the pointy end of the pin with wire cutters or really strong scissors. Or avoid point-anxiety by using a brass fastener instead. (Though you'll still want kids to be supervised while they play.)
Here are the templates (click to enlarge):