By KIRK SCHMIDT
Fourth of July fireworks are, by definition, spectacular. Spectacular is what 9,000 (est.) people, who came to the Watsonville Municipal Airport, and many more in surrounding neighborhoods, said on Tuesday night, a fabulous pyrotechnic display to celebrate the Fourth of July.
Watsonville is getting its town spirit back in a big way. Fourth of July Main Street Parade, what is more home town authentic than standing along the curb watching high schools, horses and politicians in convertibles, or for us tractors. Many grew up watching Fourth of July parades and community fireworks, it is great for any kid, and you get to see a diverse slice of our town’s potential and history. This was a throwback to country pride and patriotism that real communities foster. Real communities are those where people live and work together. The parade and fireworks drew people from throughout the Pajaro Valley and surrounding area.
Watsonville hasn’t had fireworks for so long no one can remember. Even thinking about fireworks, on the coast, in the fog, made this a way outside the box idea. The whole process to bring this event to life was a learning experience. A positive, downright optimistic, approach to helping our town have a really fun time on the Fourth pushed back the fog, at least until we were walking back to our cars on a runway after all the glow died down.
The City of Watsonville really stepped up for the Fourth. Committing to a Fourth of July fireworks show, with no prior events as a guide, is a daunting experience. How many people will come, can we close the airport to shoot fireworks, parking is easy with unused runways, but what about food, who will risk showing?
None of this would have happened without the foresight and persistence of City Manager Charles Montoya and Airport Manager Rayvon Williams. They had a clear vision and predicted success. Success was over-achieved, so many people showed up that they ran out of parking on the runway. Watsonville Police even attribute a decline in illegal fireworks to the show.
Fireworks, the Strawberry Festival, even the new skate park, all draw people to Watsonville. The Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, with business members throughout the Pajaro Valley, works with the city and supports community events that attract people to our town, eat in our restaurants and shop our stores. Local food trucks and caterers saw the success of the first Fire in the Sky with long lines outside every booth. The Chamber even had fun selling beer on a sunny afternoon.
Best of all it was a day of great fun. Thanks.
Kirk Schmidt is the chairman of the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture.