Get Ready for the Antioch July 4th Fireworks and Celebration

Dust off those picnic blankets and baskets and start practicing your best two-bar rendition of ooohhh-aaahhh! Yes, the outcome is certified with no ifs and or buts. By popular demand, Antioch is bringing back the Fourth of July full skinny this year, fireworks included.

The festivities start at 5 p.m. with a classic car show in the City Hall parking lot at 2nd and H and a Kids Zone at Waldie Plaza. Two DJ’s will entertain us.

For those wishing to come light, there will be half a dozen food vendors selling pizza, burgers, hot dogs, burritos, tacos, ice cream and other goodies.

The Parade, starting at 7 p.m. has something for everyone, from a marching band, Scouts and veterans, classic cars, tanks, school buses, martial arts and dance performers, to clowns and a circus performer. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the Budweiser Clydesdales. The Parade Awards presentation will follow at 9.m.

Then the fireworks extravaganza, this year with accompanying patriotic music all along the waterfront, starts at 9:30 p.m.

In years past, crowds have been fifteen to twenty thousand people, but get there early as this one promises to be a knockout. Remember, we’re the only show in the area, that night.

Here’s a plea. Since the celebration is completely privately funded, this year, it takes the proverbial village to make this happen. Two years ago Susan Davis and Martha Parsons kept the patriotic embers alive by sponsoring a parade at Somersville Towne Center. Last year Allen Payton and I took on the mission, with the indispensable organizing help of Louise Green, of bringing the parade back to where we all agree it belongs – Rivertown.

Then for this year’s celebration, within weeks after the last parade ended, a July 4th Celebration Committee formed to go the full nine yards and seek $65,000 needed to ensure we had fireworks – with all the costs covered including the fireworks company, barge, tuboat, permits, parade and city staff hours, including police overtime needed for the show.

In fact, along the way of our initial monthly and now weekly meetings, we added a bonus. In talking with merchants about the Celebration we realized that having our downtown trees lit year-round would do wonders for the ambiance, so, primarily through the work of Joy Motts, we have raised an ancillary $5,000 in cash and $5,000 in labor. Count Rivertown now lit.

Susan Davis, Louise Green, Allen Payton and I are co-chairing the Committee. Joy Motts and Martha Parsons are Fundraising Co-Chairs, spearheading the prodigious task of raising money. Jim Lanter and Rivertown Impressions are handling the T-shirts and postcards. Louise Green and family are managing the sound and car show and she, Susan Davis and I are orchestrating the parade applications, sequencing and trophies.

Robin Agopian oversees food vendors and youth group water sales. Connie Komar graciously hosts our meetings at her Rick’s on Second restaurant, feeding us freshly baked cookies to keep the enthusiasm high. Carole Harrison has been our faithful scribe and she and her husband, Wayne, are working with store can collections, poster distribution, security and clean-up details. Jeff Warrenburg is running a delightful Kids Zone. Diane Gibson-Gray of the Antioch Arts & Cultural Foundation and Sean Wright of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, are assisting in the fundraising with the use of the non-profit foundations.

The community, as well, has been instrumental in making this celebration a reality: Kiwanis of the Delta-Antioch donated the event insurance and the Soroptimist Club will be donating the proceeds from glo-stick sales, Universal Sweep are donating the street sweeping the day before the event, Allied-Waste is donating the portable toilets, Funnygate Publishing donated the website design, Unlimited Graphic & Sign Network donated their labor for the fundraising signs, John Slatten’s East County Insurance lent us use of their fax number, eTanzUSA helped secure the fireworks contract, and the Antioch Herald has helped with publicity.

Our cornerstone grant, a magnificent $25,000 has come from the generosity of the GenOn Community Fund and Supervisor Federal Glover.

Major sponsors are Allied Waste, PG&E, The Beswick Family Fund/Sharon Beswick, Macy’s, Mike’s Autobody, Leo Fontana, Electrical Industry Advancement Program-IBEW Local 302, Contra Costa Building & Construction Trades Council, VFW, Roddy Ranch Golf Club, Antioch Woman’s Club, Joe & Martha Goralka and Pinky’s Klassy Karwash.

Special thanks also to the City of Antioch staff for their cooperation and the owners of Fulton Shipyard, as well as Ron Greger of Greger Marine and Chris Lauritzen for assistance with the barge, tugboat and patrol boat.

The story doesn’t end there though. We need public support as we are still about $10,000 short of our goal. Our motto is “Give $4 for the Fourth” because if every family in Antioch just gave $4 we’d more than meet our goal. Of course, if a family can spare ten or twenty, or more, bless them. Anything extra will be used as seed money for next year. We started at zero, this year and prefer not to do that, again!

You can drop off a check at the Chamber or Commerce or mail to the Antioch July 4th, 21012 Celebration Committee c/o the Antioch Chamber Community Foundation, 101 H St. #4, Antioch, CA 94509.

You can also visit and contribute thru PayPal or sign up to participate in the parade. Also visit us on Facebook at

Obviously, an event of this magnitude takes many helping hands. You can help promote the event, too. Just look for the full-page poster inside the June issue of the Antioch Herald, cut it out and tape it in your window, in your lunch room at work or anywhere people can see it.

Every bit helps as we bring back a family-friendly Antioch tradition and honor the most patriotic of American holidays.

Now on the count of three…… ooohhh, aaahhh!

Walter Ruehlig, Co-Chair, Antioch July 4th Celebration Committee


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