A twist on a tradition

One of a group of skydivers prepares to land in front of the crowd at the airport during last year’s Fire in the Sky fireworks show. Gates for this year’s show will open at 6:30 p.m. on July 3. — Register-Pajaronian File

Fireworks show moved to July 3, parade follows next day

Watsonville’s Fourth of July festivities will get going a day early.

The third annual Fire in the Sky firework show and Watsonville Municipal Airport Open House this year will run on July 3 instead of its typical July 4 date.

Airport Manager Rayvon Williams said the move made sense for the airport and the city, which wanted to cut down on the hours of overtime that went into running both the Spirit of Watsonville parade in downtown and Fire in the Sky in one day.

“I’m a big fan of trying new stuff,” Williams said. “We’re not afraid to lead the way.”

Admission is free. Parking is $10 for cars and $20 for vans, RVs and buses.

The airport will open its doors at 6:30 p.m. and festivities start an hour later with a flag jump and National Anthem.

The fireworks show is slated for 9:30 p.m.

Sandwiched in between will be a formation flyover, remote control aircraft demonstration and a jet dragster performance. Several food trucks and booths, live music and a dedicated kids’ zone will also line the County’s lone airport.

Additionally, California Highway Patrol, the Santa Cruz County Sheriffs, Cal Fire and other agencies will get a chance to showcase their aircrafts and give the public a behind-the-scenes look at the daily operations that go on at the airport.

“It gives people a chance to understand the value and utility of an open airport for this community,” Williams said. “The next shuttle pilot could be a 6-year-old from Watsonville. I don’t see why that can’t happen. Getting the kids, the community in [the airport] gets their mind going about the possibilities there are for them…For me it’s an open house first and foremost. The fireworks are just the icing on the cake.”

Roughly 7,500 attended the inaugural Fire in the Sky and about 6,000 showed last year. Williams said his staff is preparing for more than 7,000 guests.

“We’re the only thing going on that Wednesday so hopefully people will start their Fourth of July celebrations with us,” Williams said. 

The Spirit of Watsonville Fourth of July Parade will follow Fire in the Sky the next day at its usual start time of noon.

The City of Watsonville this year changed its grand marshal designation. Each year the current Mayor will be given the opportunity to select a community organization that will follow the Mayor and City Council members in the parade line up.  

Regeneración was selected as the community-serving organization that will be recognized.

A climate justice organization, Regeneración focuses on educating and empowering residents of how to fight climate change in their everyday lives.

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