Benicia’s celebrations are back in full swing!
Photography by Luke George
After the past few years, holidays and events have slowly been ramping back up. All of the usual and beloved Fourth of July festivities on First Street, including the fireworks show at the water, were canceled last year; this time around, get ready to make up for lost time. Benicia’s fun is bigger and better than ever! Get some comfortable shoes ready and break out your red, white, and blue to celebrate without needing to leave town. Here are a few festivities to keep in mind along with some insider tips and tricks for making the most of this year’s patriotic Sunday and Monday.
Torchlight Parade: July 3rd
Many residents may already know this, but Benicia likes to celebrate with a two-day bang! Take in the iconic Torchlight Parade the day before the Fourth of July. This giant event runs the entire stretch of First Street and will include everything from massive floats, local groups, dancers, bands, and tons of other entertainment. The fun officially kicks off at 6:30 pm and will run for roughly two hours.
- If you’d like to have a seat at the parade instead of standing or walking along with the parade on the sidewalk, lawn chairs and blankets are allowed—but if this is a must for your attendance, plan to get those chairs there early! People often stake out their areas many hours before the parade begins.
- Expect to be faced with large crowds around restaurants, food areas, and bars. Depending on your group, you might consider eating before the parade or bringing your own snacks and water bottles.
- First Street will be blocked off to cars for the parade, so plan accordingly. Side streets will be open for parking. If you’ll be going downtown with others, you might want to consider carpooling or using a ride share service.
Evening Entertainment: July 3rd
This year, thanks to community staple Pedrotti Ace Hardware and their Centennial celebration, there’s an extra-special treat for our tiny town immediately following the parade! East Bay Mudd, which is composed of nine members complete with a horn section and a rhythm section, will get the classic R&B and soul music bumping at 8pm. Catch their sounds on the waterfront’s main stage. After the sun has set, an awesome drone performance by Verge Aero will begin around 9:40 pm and end at 10 pm. The notable company won themselves a gold buzzer from Simon Cowell on America’s Got Talent: Extreme; you aren’t going to want to miss this show!
- The breezy conditions by the waterfront can be unpredictable—even if warm temperatures were present earlier in the day, nightfall can quickly become quite chilly. Consider bringing a light jacket or a sweater so that you can enjoy all the night has to offer while staying cozy.
July 4th: Street Fair Festival
You don’t have to wait until nightfall to start the Fourth of July fun on First Street! Beginning at 3:00 pm, check out the waterfront area of First Street with the whole family. There will be plenty of vendors, food, and arts & crafts, so there’s sure to be a little something for everyone. From 3:00 pm all the way to 9:30 pm, live music will be played on the pier’s main stage.
- If you’ll be staying for fireworks, the same goes as above—bring a light layer as the wind has a history of ramping up!
July 4th: Fireworks Extravaganza
Fireworks lovers rejoice: beginning at 9:30 pm, catch the show along the end of First Street by the Marina Green. The spectacular visual will last for a full 30 minutes, finishing at 10:00 pm.
- Want to avoid downtown First Street? There are other places to get a great view of some fireworks, even if it’s not as up close and personal. Example: try heading to the bridge by Mary Farmar Elementary School along Military West!
Barbecues and Picnics
To celebrate the Fourth, many people may opt for their own backyard barbecues or picnics. You can enjoy all of your favorite foods or ask friends and family to bring something they like to make it a potluck. If you’d like to venture out of the backyard, public parks in Benicia should be fine to snag a last-minute spot in the grass for a blanket setup, and there might be individual picnic tables available that are not part of the reservation areas. Many parks have spaces to reserve (Benicia Community Park, Jack London Park, and the City Park). Spots for the extended holiday weekend are filling up fast, but feel free to check in with the city to see what’s available to you. The best number to do this through is 707.746.4285.
No matter what you decide to do, we wish you a safe and fun time with loved ones!