Antioch celebrates July 4th with a big turn out in spite of the heat

VFW color guard leads off Antioch's 2013 July 4th parade on 2nd Street.

VFW color guard leads off Antioch’s 2013 July 4th parade on 2nd Street. photos by Allen Payton & Dan Rundall

By Veronica Carr

The Fourth of July arrived with a bang this year in downtown Antioch. Although temperatures reached a sweltering 107 degrees, many residents still came out for a day of food, family, and fireworks.

The event took nine months to plan and was mainly made possible by donations of all kinds made to the newly formed Celebrate Antioch Foundation. The largest donation came from NRG Energy and County Supervisor Federal Glover, which paid for the fireworks show. However, other companies and residents made contributions that ranged in size from as low as $4 to hundreds, even thousands of dollars.

Crowds line 2nd Street for Antioch's 2013 July 4th parade.

Crowds line 2nd Street for Antioch’s 2013 July 4th parade.

Organizers and residents said that without the generous donations, the fireworks show would not have been possible.

Even just a few months ago, I was still unsure if Antioch would have fireworks,” Dominic Morales said. “When I heard that they had received large donations and would be able to do the fireworks, I was grateful. The fireworks show is as much a part of Antioch’s history as anything else.”

The day is not just the celebration of America’s independence, it’s also the anniversary of the 1851 July 4th picnic at which the residents renamed the town from Smith’s Landing to Antioch. (A scene of that event can be seen in the mural on 2nd Street).

The day’s events kicked off at 4 p.m. with the city’s annual Car Show, held in front of City Hall, again this year. Proud car owners showed off their classic cars and hot rods to a crowd of appreciative on-lookers. Participants received trophies and were encouraged to drive in the parade, later that day.

Then at 5 p.m. the entertainment by Frank Rundall and DJ Throttle began, the Food Courts opened, and activities in the Kid’s Zone took place in Waldie Plaza where children enjoyed the bounce houses and slides with the purchase of a $5 wristband. A magician performed magic tricks that involved juggling fire for an astounded crowd of parents and children.

The parade on 2nd and 3rd Streets began at 7 p.m. and lasted for about an hour and a half. This year’s participants included the local VFW, Boys and Girls Scout troops, the fire and police departments, and many other local organizations. Several elected officials such as Glover, who was this year’s Grand Marshall, Assemblyman Jim Frazier and Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Mary Rocha rode in cars, waving to the crowds and passing out miniature flags and candy.

The biggest round of applause came when military veterans and their families rode and marched through the streets, waving the American flag.

East County Military Families salute during the July 4th parade.

East County Military Families salute during the July 4th parade.


Even though I’ve seen the parade countless times, it’s still nice to watch. You get to see all the floats and cars and people waving the American flag. It makes you feel very patriotic,” Paulina Ramirez said.

Around 9 p.m., residents began crowding the waterfront as the time for the fireworks to begin drew near. Many people had arrived early in the day to secure a good spot to view the fireworks while others arrived late and scrambled to find an available seat.

For Ray Allen, there seemed to be no better spot than the backyard of his house as it provided a perfect view of the waterfront.

“Every year, I invite my family over and we watch the fireworks from my backyard. It’s a great way to get the family together and we avoid the crowds,” he said.

Once the fireworks began, the crowd quieted and watched in awe as the night sky was lit up in shades of red, white, and blue with an accompanying soundtrack playing in the background. As the fireworks ended with a huge finale, and the crowds dispersed, many commented on their hopes to continue the tradition next year.

Cynthia & Walter Ruehlig aka Wonder Woman & Captain America participate in the July 4th parade.

Cynthia & Walter Ruehlig aka Wonder Woman & Captain America participate in the July 4th parade.

The Celebrate Antioch Foundation hopes that it will continue to receive donations from generous sponsors to continue the fireworks show. Not just for next year, but for years to come. For more information visit their website at

the attachments to this post:

Cynthia & Walter Ruehlig aka Wonder Woman & Captain America

East County Military Families salute

Crowds line 2nd Street for parade

VFW color guard

2 Comments to “Antioch celebrates July 4th with a big turn out in spite of the heat”

  1. Romano Marchetti says:

    I had to leave the activities early, then never got the results of the judging. Did Sons of Italy get any awards?


  2. Kenji Freitas says:

    Great parade! It was nice to see the community come out in support.

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