A light show of a different kind helped people in Imperial Beach celebrate the Fourth of July. Instead of fireworks, a high tech drone show lit up the sky at the Imperial Beach Pier.
One hundred and eighty drones, choreographed to music, danced over the pier forming different patriotic shapes like an American flag and spelling out U.S.A.
"I love the way the graphics are coming out. It’s really cool, really good. I like this a lot better,” said spectator Josh Howard.
But Rick Mendoza who’s a regular for the annual Imperial Beach fireworks show had a different take after waiting two years to see a show because of the pandemic pause.
"It was pretty good. Different, but I'm more of a fireworks kind of a guy. It had pretty good lights, but I’m voting for fireworks and going out with a bigger bang than usual," Mendoza said.
Fireworks shows in cities across the country were cancelled this year because of potential fire dangers and supply chain issues.
The mayor of Imperial Beach said the company they contracted with canceled on them last week, so they pivoted to a drone show.
One of the benefits is it's environmentally friendly.
“There's no smoke, there's no particles falling into the ocean and we know we have an ocean pollution problem," Mayor Serge Dedina said. "Fireworks, in the grand scheme of things, isn't as big a deal, but I also get the calls on all the dogs freaking out about fireworks. So our residents seem to be happy with less noise."
Olga Quinones agrees.
“I’d rather have this," Quinones said. "I love the fireworks, but you know, we need the environment very badly. I’ve lived a long time, but I’d like to have my great grandkids live a long time too."
Dedina said he’s not sure if drone shows are the future of Independence Day celebrations in Imperial Beach. He says he’ll have to gauge the applause from the people.