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In the Loop

(by) Donna McCrohan Rosenthal–

July begins with fireworks and the fun doesn’t end, as you will read in this month’s roundup of tips for short hops and trips around the Golden State.

Donna Rosenthal
Donna Rosenthal

To the north on Hwy 395, Bridgeport rolls out their 161st annual 4th of July Celebration, Saturday, July 1 through Tuesday, July 4, featuring craft and food vendors, ranch rodeo, parade, live music, grease pole contest, and fireworks (

To the southeast in Big Bear on July 4, visible from the water, shoreline and some trail vantage points, the fireworks start between 8:45-9:15 p.m. and continue approximately 30-40 minutes. Local radio station KBHR airs a musical accompaniment to the show on 93.3 FM and 102.5 FM. Or try new heights at the Above the Boom viewing party offering a Scenic Sky Chair ride, live DJ music, and panoramic vistas 1-800-424-4232).

In the Greater Palm Springs area, Palm Desert kicks off Independence Day 7:30 p.m. at the amphitheater with a free concert of pop favorites. At 9 p.m. the sky glows for 20 minutes synchronized to patriotic-themed songs simulcast on two local radio stations; Palm Springs’ All American Fourth of July Weekend, July 1-4, includes movie nights, concerts, a pool party, and more, and on Tuesday night, Led Zepagain plays a free concert of some of the most iconic hits from Led Zeppelin 800-967-3767).

In San Diego, see the Annual Big Bay Boom July 4 Fireworks billed as “Southern California’s Largest Fireworks Show.” Fireworks discharge simultaneously from barges placed strategically around the Bay off Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Embarcadero North, Marina District and Coronado Ferry Landing and last approximately 18 minutes (619-232-3101); also in San Diego, Comic-Con International: San Diego, called “The Largest Pop Culture Event in the United States” attracts thousands of artists, celebrities and fans of comic books and movie memorabilia. Badges sell out almost immediately (619-414-1020). Alternatively, consider looking for online ticket auctions, planning ahead for 2024, and/or attending Anime Expo, the largest anime convention in North America, with its dozens of panels July 1-4 in Los Angeles (714-937-2994).

At the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, the Beach Boys team up with fireworks Saturday-Tuesday July 2, 3, and 4; and in short order, the Bowl presents “Maestro of the Movies: John Williams with the LA Phil” (John Williams and Gustavo Dudamel conducting) on Saturday, July 8 (323-850-2000).

To the southwest at Old Mission Santa Barbara through Monday, September 4, “Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel – The Exhibition” gives visitors access to a part of the mission not normally open to the public and an up-close, life-size, and never-before-seen perspective highlighting the awe and wonder of arguably one of mankind’s greatest artistic achievements. A special printing technique emulates appearance and feel of the original paintings. To enjoy the audio guide, guests should bring their own headphones (805) 682-4149.