GILROY, Calif. (KRON) – The only official Bay Area 4th of July fireworks show that will take place this year is in the South Bay.
The fireworks will blast off behind Gilroy High School as usual but because of the pandemic, the rockets will be launched high enough so that they can be seen across the city so people can stay home and stay safe.
When the Annual Gilroy Fireworks Show begins at dusk on Saturday, longtime resident Bob Russell will be watching from right in his front yard, on the other side of town.
“Fireworks are great, I’m glad they’re going to do it this year despite everything that’s going on. I just hope it brings everyone together in a good place and a chance to let off a little bit of steam since we can’t go out and about and do things,” Russell said.
While many other communities have cancelled their official fireworks shows in favor of porch parades and other virtual celebrations, Gilroy’s show will go on in the name of boosting morale, says Mayor Roland Velasco.
“Over the last year, we have gone through a lot with the Garlic Festival and now COVID. I really think its important for people to enjoy the 4th of July,” Mayor Velasco said.
Parking lots, a few streets near Gilroy High School and the nearby Uvas Creek Levee, where people typically gather to watch the fireworks, will be off limits this year.
Bob and Sue Baker, fed up with all the unofficial fireworks in recent weeks, are headed out of town for the weekend.
“We’ve had illegal fireworks, both aerial and mortars for almost a month. It starts at 6 o’clock at night and goes well after midnight,” Sue said.
“Not the fireworks display that the city puts on, it’s the neighborhood fireworks displays,” Bob said.
Gilroy is also one of the few places in the Bay Area where Safe and Sane fireworks are now on sale to locals only.
The proceeds are helping non-profits that would normally be funded by the cancelled Gilroy Garlic Festival.
“Also it’s hard because of the whole social distancing to have other types of sales, like door-to-door, we can’t have or anything like that because of the whole COVID-19,” Bernice Garcia said.
While one resident is said to be offering to rent his rooftop for a thousand dollars, city officials are discouraging impromptu celebrations while encouraging masks and other pandemic protocols where applicable.
“I want them to enjoy the 4th of July, to celebrate what it means but mostly just a moral booster,” Velasco said.
The mayor says the aerial pyrotechnic will be at least 100 feet higher than usual and should be visible for at least 2 and a half miles around.
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