Escondido’s annual Independence Day Festival & Fireworks has become a North County tradition, and for good reason. Each year, 25,000 festival-goers converge on the California Center for the Arts, Escondido (The Center) at Grape Day Park for the holiday festivities. The event is back for its 52nd year on Saturday, July 4 with rockin’ live music, tasty treats, and games for all.
The festival takes place on Saturday July 4, from 4-9:30 p.m.. Please visit artcenter.org for the full event schedule and details.
The day will commence with a special presentation by Escondido’s American Legion Post 149. The Legion’s program honoring our nation’s veterans has begun the day’s festivities for many years, but this time the program has a slight change. This year, the Center’s first National Anthem Singing Competition will discover a local singer whose rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” will be kicking off the day’s events.
Taking the stage after the American Legion is local world-music duo Jimmy & Enrique, who stole the show at the Center’s First Wednesdays concert series with their January performance. Next up is Mrs. Jones’ Revenge, a Temecula-based classic rock band that will play everyone’s favorite hits from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Lastly, Valley Center’s own American Idol hopeful, Morgan Leigh, will be taking the stage with her country rock group, the Morgan Leigh Band. After key words from the Center’s Executive Director Jerry VanLeeuwen and Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, the crowd will be treated to the music of Camp Pendleton’s finest musicians, the 1st Marine Division Band, who will lead us into a dazzling fireworks display.
Throughout the festival, a wealth of other activities will be going on around the Center’s campus. The event’s Fun & Games area will be located behind the Center’s Museum. Free arts and crafts, face painting, caricatures, bingo, and more—coordinated by the Center’s Education Department—will take place from 4:00-8:00pm. Additionally, Escondido Recreation will be holding a number of contests in the same area. Their Watermelon Eating Contest, always a crowd favorite, is open to children, teens, and adults, and will take place from 5:30-6:30pm. A number of other entertainers, from jugglers to balloon artists, will be wandering the park throughout the event. Festival-goers can also visit the Escondido History Center, which will be free and open to the public from 4:00-7:00pm on July 4th. The YMCA Baton Twirlers, will take to the Depot Stage closer to dark (7:30- 8:00pm) to showcase their amazing talents and flaming batons. As always, a number of food vendors will be offering tasty treats for purchase throughout the day.
This event, with all of its music, art, and activities would not be possible without the generosity of its sponsors. The Linden Root Dickinson Foundation, the City of Escondido, Lyon Communities, and Escondido Disposal Inc. contributed to the success of this community celebration.