What to Know
- The Big Bay Boom starts at 9 p.m. on July 4, 2021
- The fireworks show launches from four barges along San Diego's downtown waterfront and can be seen from several prime spots
- The 20-minute show is celebrating its 20th anniversary -- something it would've celebrated last summer but the coronavirus pandemic had other plans
The beloved, 20-minute fireworks spectacular – which was put on pause last summer due to the coronavirus pandemic – will return as a live event this Sunday.
"It's a big relief. It's another step in America coming back and celebrating our freedoms," said Sam Bruggema, the show producer with Pyro Spectaculars. "And we love the fact that we can gather and get people out here to have a good time."
The patriotic pyrotechnics display will launch at 9 p.m. from four barges along San Diego Bay and, as always, there’s prime viewing to be had at several locations. Popular spots for spectators include:
- Shelter Island
- Harbor Island
- North Embarcadero
- South Embarcadero
- Cesar E. Chavez Park
- Coronado Ferry Landing
This will mark the Big Bay Boom’s 20th anniversary – which was, technically, supposed to be last year, but the pandemic had other plans. The show will be synced up to music broadcast live on KGB 101.5 FM radio.
A lot of care and rehearsals go into creating the holiday spectacular.
"We take them out to a testing spot and fire them and time them, film them, and critique them," explained Bruggema. "And then we'll know - we'll go, 'hey that's a good idea in that song,' and, 'that will be good in that song,' and, 'that's a good segment for something else.' There's a lot of professionals that watch our tests, and we know, we share information, and we build off that."
The event usually draws about 500,000 spectators to San Diego Bay, so it’s best to plan ahead and get to your viewing spot early. Locals can even watch from their boats.
"San Diego is the most gorgeous place in America for fireworks, the most gorgeous bay, and we get one day to do it," Bruggema said.
To get people to and from the waterfront, the Metropolitan Transit System will offer expanded train, trolley, and bus service on July 4. MTS will also offer its "Friends Ride Free" program, during which one person may ride free alongside a fare-paying customer on all MTS routes. You can get more details on that here.
By the way, remember when the Big Bay Boom turned into the “Big Bay Bust” in 2012? That year, all the fireworks accidentally went off at once. Take a look back at that moment in this video from the NBC 7 archives.
If you’re not planning on heading to the downtown or San Diego Bay areas to catch this big show, there are some other 2021 fireworks displays returning to the sky across the county this Sunday. Check out our guide on where to watch fireworks in San Diego.
Fourth of July Fireworks Safety
With hot, dry, wildfire-prone conditions in Southern California, fireworks safety is top of mind for officials during the Fourth of July holiday.
Consumer fireworks are a big hazard so, when it comes to fireworks on the Fourth, it’s always safest to leave it to the pros who are putting on professional fireworks displays.
“We lose houses, we lose canyons, we lose people, unfortunately. It’s just not worth the risk,” said Mark Alvarez, of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. “So, we’re just trying to ask everybody, please don’t take the chance.”
Earlier this week, a fireworks blast in a South Los Angeles neighborhood left 17 people hurt – including 10 law enforcement officers.
In San Diego County, a Vista teen was hurt earlier this week when a firework exploded in his hand.
And, if you’re heading to San Diego’s local beaches for the holiday weekend, safety is key there too. Here are the dos and don’ts of enjoying our local beaches this Fourth of July weekend.
Some big ones to remember, per SDPD Capt. Scott Wahl: no alcohol, no fires outside city-designated fire rings, and no camping on the beach.
Marine Safety Capt. Maureen Hodges, of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Lifeguard Division, said it’s important to listen to lifeguards about ocean conditions – especially if there are rip currents.