With San Diego County now fully reopened, many communities are bringing back their Fourth of July fireworks shows. These are just some of the patriotic events that’ll light up the sky on July 4, 2021 – a maybe even feel a bit more magical knowing what we’ve missed over the past year.
Big Bay Boom
9 p.m., San Diego Bay
San Diego’s largest 4th of July fireworks show, the Port of San Diego’s Big Bay Boom, announced it would return downtown’s waterfront on July 4, 2021. It, of course, went dark in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic (and went really fast in 2012 – remember the “Big Bay Bust?”). Fireworks will launch at 9 p.m. from four barges along the San Diego Bay. Prime viewing locations include Shelter Island; Harbor Island; North Embarcadero; South Embarcadero; Cesar E. Chavez Park; Coronado Ferry Landing. From wherever you are watching, get there early with your lawn chairs and blankets because this 20-minute event always draws a crowd. Here are more details on the Big Bay Boom.
Fireworks at the ‘HOME GROWN FUN’ San Diego County Fair
9 p.m., Del Mar FairgroundsThe San Diego County Fair has been running its scaled-down, pandemic-era version of the event since mid-June and the final day of its 2021 season is set for July 4. And, on that day, at 9 p.m., the fair’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show will light up the sky. The display will be visible throughout the Del Mar Fairgrounds but organizers said this year’s show is “specially-designed” for the smaller crowd. The best viewing areas will be in the West Avenue and West Gate; there will be no Grandstand seating available this year.
July 4th in Coronado
9 p.m., Coronado Island
Coronado Island will celebrate Independence Day with fireworks over the Coronado Bay at 9 p.m. on July 4. Before that – from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. – the U.S. Navy Parachute Team, “The Leap Frogs,” will host its demo Leap Frogs jump in the sky above Coronado. A day before – on July 3 at 10 a.m. – Coronado will also host its annual Independence Day Parade down Orange Avenue. The Coronado Ferry Landing is also one of the prime viewing spots to watch the Big Bay Boom.
Escondido’s Independence Day Celebration
9 p.m., Visible From Anywhere in Central Escondido Including Grape Day Park
The City of Escondido will not be hosting its large-scale, traditional Fourth of July celebration this year, but the fireworks will fly. A display is set to start at 9 p.m. (launched from the parking lot on Woodward Avenue), which the city said will be visible from anywhere in central Escondido, including Grape Day Park. The park will be open past dusk for the holiday, with regular rules in place, including no barbecues, dogs, or alcohol.
Santee Salutes Fireworks Show
9 p.m., Town Center Community Park East
Santee Salutes – a festival featuring live music, a patriotic ceremony, food and family-friendly fun at Town Center Community Park (550 Park Center Dr.) – is back this year and will culminate with a 4th of July fireworks display at 9 p.m. Different this year, though: if you want to park at the park, you must buy a parking pass ahead of time and a spot will be reserved for you. Organizers recommend getting there no later than 8 p.m.; shuttle service is not available this year.
El Cajon Fireworks
9 p.m., Kennedy Park
El Cajon’s July 4th fireworks are set for 9 p.m. They'll be launched from Granite Hills High School and best viewed at Kennedy Park (1675 E. Madison Ave.). The show lasts 30 minutes; more info can be found here.
San Marcos Fireworks
9 p.m., Bradley Park
This 30-minute Fourth of July fireworks display will launch from Bradley Park in San Marcos – but gathering at the park is not encouraged this year. Due to the pandemic, the City of San Marcos said there will not be a Fourth of July festival/event this time, so locals are urged to instead watch the fireworks from their backyards. This display is funded entirely by donations from San Marcos businesses and residents.
9 p.m., Poway High School and Poway SportsplexFireworks will light the sky over two locations in Poway on July 4: Poway High School (15500 Espola Rd.) and Poway Sportsplex (12349 McIvers Ct.). The viewing from the high school returns this year with games, activities and a DJ spinning the tunes; the gates open at 6 p.m. and it costs $5 per person to enter (kids 11 and under get in free). Other Fourth of July events taking place in Poway in 2021: the community’s Old-Fashioned 4th of July Celebration at Old Poway Park (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and the 4th of July Veterans Park Ceremony at 11 a.m. at Veterans Park (14134 Midland Rd.).
Independence Day Celebration in Vista
9 p.m., Brengle Terrace Park
Vista’s fireworks begin at 9 p.m. from the Moonlight Amphitheatre at Brengle Terrace Park (1200 Vale Terrace Dr.) and will follow the city’s Independence Day Celebration that starts at 5 p.m. Park admission is $15 per car and entry into the Moonlight Amphitheatre costs $5 per person. You can buy a parking pass ahead of time online, or purchase in person at VisTix located at 200 Civic Center Drive. No walk-in pedestrian traffic will be allowed into Brengle Terrace Park for this event.
Ramona 4th of July Family Picnic and Fireworks Show
9 p.m., Olive Peirce Middle School
Ramona’s fireworks – presented by the Ramona Chamber of Commerce, Ramona Rotary Club, and Kiwanis Club of Ramona – go down at 9 p.m. on the field behind Olive Peirce Middle School (1521 Hanson Ln.). The dazzling display will follow a family-friendly 4th of July Family Picnic that starts at 4 p.m.; the event will include some food vendors, too.
Oceanside Fireworks (One day early, on July 3)
9 p.m., El Corazon
Oceanside will ring in the 4th a day early – on July 3, 2021 – with patriotic fireworks that’ll also celebrate the city’s 133rd anniversary. The show starts at 9 p.m. and the best viewing spot is Rancho Del Oro Drive. Organizers say that area will be closed at 5 p.m. from Oceanside Boulevard to Mesa Drive, so plan accordingly. Attendees could also park in the business park areas between Ocean Ranch and Seagate Way to Corporate Center Drive. This free community event will also include live music and food vendors starting at 6 p.m.
Fourth of July Fireworks That Are Canceled This Year
Since we’re still in a pandemic, not every community in San Diego County will host fireworks this Fourth of July. These are some of the notable events that are canceled this year:
July 4th in Chula Vista
The City of Chula Vista said on June 24 that with the ups and downs of the coronavirus pandemic, there was simply “not enough time to adequately plan for the event” this year. The Chula Vista Firefighters Association will also not be hosting its annual pancake breakfast on the holiday. Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas said the city hopes to bring back its Fourth of July fireworks in 2022.
Ocean Beach Fireworks
The longtime tradition of launching a Fourth of July fireworks display off the OB Pier will not happen this year, the Ocean Beach Main Street Association told NBC 7. The OB Pier was heavily damaged this year by winter storms and, while it partially reopened at the end of May, access remains limited. So, the Ocean Beach Main Street Association said the fireworks tradition will have to wait, for now.
Lake Murray Fireworks in La Mesa
The donations-funded Fourth of July fireworks at Lake Murray La Mesa has had on-again, off-again times over the past few years and 2021 is an off year. The event’s website said that due to the ups and downs of COVID-19, the festivities will be postponed until 2022. This marks the second year of the event’s cancellation due to the pandemic.
Mira Mesa Fireworks
First it was happening. But now, it’s not. The Mira Mesa Town Council and Scripps Mesa Fireworks announced on June 26 that the 2021 Fourth of July Fireworks Show is officially canceled. Organizers had planned to bring the show back at its sport over Mira Mesa High School but an inspection of the site determined it wasn’t safe to have the show there this year. You can read about the change of plans here.
La Jolla Cove 4th of July Fireworks
9 p.m., Ellen Browning Scripps Park
As of June 30, the fireworks show at La Jolla Cove had been canceled, according to a city spokesperson. The show was canceled last year and was also shelved in 2018 and 2019 because sponsorship funding had fallen through. We will update this section if anything changes with the status of the La Jolla fireworks prior to the Fourth.
Local officials this week reminded the public that fireworks -- the kind that are not launched by professionals at pre-planned fireworks events -- are not legal in San Diego County and pose danger, especially at the height of the hot, dry wildfire season. Read those warnings here.
Get the latest San Diego lifestyle stories from NBC 7's The Scene by signing up for our newsletter here; just enter your email and click the box next to The Scene.