Bombs bursting in air!: Plenty to do this Fourth

The Knights of Columbus reenact the battle for Iwo Jima, in 1945 when U.S. Marines raised a flag atop Mount Suribachi on their float during the Freedom Fest July Fourth Parade Monday. 7.4.11

This year’s Fourth of July fireworks display in Morgan Hill will be bigger and better than previous shows, the parade Wednesday morning will feature everything from musical performances to aircraft flyovers, and veterans and school children promise another rousing performance at the annual “Patriotic Sing.”

For these and more reasons, Morgan Hillers and their families – no matter how patriotic – should come out to enjoy mid-week fun and celebration for Independence Day, according to events organizer Charles Weston.

The festivities started Saturday, when about 235 people participated in the third annual Freedom Fest Bike Classic. Bicycle riders of all skill levels, and their families, rode in four routes of varying lengths, from 6 miles up to 100 kilometers, Weston said.

“We had more people than we’ve ever had before” participate in the bike ride, Weston said. “And it was a beautiful day.”

The Bike Classic is a fundraiser for the remainder of the Freedom Fest activities, which include a July 3 evening concert, the July 4 parade and fireworks show and associated entertainment.

The morning of July 4 starts with another popular fundraiser for Freedom Fest – the annual 1-mile and 5K “Freedom Run” events. Already, more than 350 people have registered for that event, Weston said. Runners can register until Wednesday morning, and the run starts at 7:45 a.m.

The theme of this year’s parade is “Happy Birthday America.”

Live entertainment for the parade starts at 9 a.m. Wednesday, with a Marilyn Monroe impersonator scheduled to sing “Happy Birthday” to America with a police escort, the Imperial Gallon barber-shop quartet set to perform, and other musicians and performing artists to perform on the several stages along the parade route, according to Freedom Fest parade co-chair Maureen Hunt.

Also before the parade, spectators should watch the sky for flyovers from “The Beech Boys,” a group of Beechcraft airplane pilots who perform aerial displays; and a World War II-era Tiger plane, among others, Hunt said.

The grand marshal for this year’s parade is the United Service Organization, more affectionately known as the USO, which has provided services to American troops since 1941, Hunt said.

“They’re celebrating their 71st birthday, and we are celebrating them for all the good they have done, and are still doing, for our troops,” Hunt said.

The parade, which starts at 10 a.m., features 144 entries, making it a larger procession than last year’s, she added.

Entries include a variety of motorized floats, special guests, walkers, marching bands, clubs, organizations and local businesses, according to the Freedom Fest website.

Pre-fireworks family entertainment at Community Park starts about 4 p.m. when a mobile food court of 10 food trucks opens at the park, which sits between West Edmundson and Cosmo avenues, on the west side of Monterey Road.

Live music will be featured at the park as well, with the fireworks set to go off at dark, Weston said.

For more information about the Independence Day festivities, go to

July 3 – Patriotic Sing: Britton Middle School Gym, 6 p.m.
July 3 – The Usual Suspects playing the Family Music Fest: 7 to 10:30 p.m. at the Community and Cultural Center on East Dunne Avenue and Monterey Road
July 4 – 1-mile walk and 5K run, registration at P.A. Walsh School from 6:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. 1-mile race starts at 7:45 a.m., 5K starts at 8:15 a.m.
July 4 – car cruise and show: Registration at the Community and Cultural Center 7:30 a.m., car cruise at 9:30 a.m., car show at 11:30 a.m.
July 4 – parade: Downtown Morgan Hill, entertainment starts at 9 a.m., parade starts at 10 a.m.
July 4 – fireworks: Morgan Hill Community Park on West Edmundson Road, entertainment at 6 p.m., fireworks at dark