It’s no secret that Santa Monica College holds its annual fireworks show in advance of Independence Day because of concerns about crowds flocking to the Main Campus, clogging city streets while putting a significant strain on the public safety network (it can get pretty expensive having all those cops on duty).
But this year, the show is happening so far in advance (June 27) that it won’t even be the month of July when the first firework explodes above, filling the night sky with brilliant colors that make children’s eyes light up and send nostalgic shivers down the spines of adults.
There’s just something wrong with this picture, isn’t there?
First of all, having the fireworks show early ends up becoming somewhat anti-climactic, and in turn takes away from the actual holiday itself, making it more about barbecues and beach parties than about celebrating America’s independence. Fireworks were always something to look forward to at the end of a long day with the family. The reds, whites and blues accompanied by the “National Anthem,” “Star Spangled Banner,” and “God Bless America,” brought some to tears, including those father figures who we thought would never cry.
Having the show early also lessens its impact and makes it more of an afterthought for some, especially those who are not familiar with SMC’s tradition. Could this possibly mean fewer people at the gates? Well, that doesn’t really matter since SMC, and City Hall, which helps foot the bill, do not charge an entry fee and therefore make very little money from the event, aside from parking revenue.
The irony here is this, Santa Monica, whether it be City Hall, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Pier Restoration Corporation, Pacific Park or the Bayside District, Main Street and Montana Avenue, goes out of its way to promote certain events (remember GLOW) and activities to draw visitors in so they can spend money and increase tax revenue.
So why hold back now? It doesn’t make any sense. Are the powers that be afraid large crowds will flock as they did when City Hall produced a show along the beach, drawing hundreds of thousands. Are they worried about another GLOW incident?
Currently, the only thing Santa Monicans have on the fourth is the Fourth of July Parade, which is organized by neighborhood groups, not City Hall, and was a creation of the Ocean Park Association.
It is just absurd to have a Fourth of July fireworks show in June. That’s all we’re saying.