With the Fourth of July just over a week and a half away, final preparations are well underway for Turlock's annual Independence Day parade and fireworks celebration.
This year's celebration brings changes from a year ago, including a shift of all daytime activities to Downtown Turlock.
“We're bringing the full day event back to downtown,” said Dana McGarry, Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association Coordinator.
Last year, the event kicked off with the traditional Downtown Turlock Patriotic Parade before migrating to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. The Fairgrounds hosted a “Fenders and Fireworks” car show before a rousing fireworks display.
But this year, the 10 a.m. downtown parade will be immediately followed by an Independence Celebration Car Show in Downtown Turlock. The parade is expected to draw at least 75 entries, with 70 cars in the car show.
Thousands of attendees are expected for the marquee event.
“We're hoping to get thousands of people to enjoy all that downtown has to offer,” McGarry said. “We want people to come downtown.”
Food and street vendors will be set up throughout downtown. A child safety event at Central Park will include the Turlock Fire Department, McGruff the Crime Dog, and Blue Santa.
And, of course, downtown restaurants and merchants will be open.
“We're just looking forward to having a nice, wide variety of activities and shopping and things to look at and see while you're downtown,” McGarry said.
The event's new theme, “Our American Heritage,” looks to celebrate all Americans' common heritage, McGarry said.
“We're all Americans, and we celebrate this day together in an environment of happiness and unity,” McGarry said
The downtown festivities will run until 3 p.m., ending early enough in the day so there's still time to barbecue at home, McGarry noted.
Later that night, a fireworks show will return to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds.
The “Stars & Stripes 4th of July Red White & BOOM!” event is being presented by the City of Turlock, Stanislaus County Fair, Turlock Rural Firefighters and the Turlock Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitors Bureau
Admission and parking are both free. Guests are invited to bring blankets, lawn chairs, food, soft drinks, and water, but no alcohol, fireworks, or glass bottles are permitted.
For more information, visit http://turlockdowntown.com/4th-of-july-parade/. Applications are still being accepted for street vendors and parade and car show participants.