Ask anyone in Benicia about what was memorable in 2022 and many would agree: The July 3rd Drone Show! 

If you missed our Ace Centennial Drone show on the waterfront, then you likely heard about it.  It’s been the talk of the town.  For those lucky to catch the spectacle, we witnessed something remarkable… a one-of-a kind, in-the-air extraordinaire, a show that left jaws hangin’ and people celebratin’.  Over-the-waterfront and with the backdrop of the Carquinez Strait and Port Costa hills, a stunning and immersive drone light show lit up the night.  Hosted by Callie-the-Camel, the show provided vignettes and images of Benicia’s past, including references to the Benicia Arsenal, our State Capitol, and Callie’s personal favorite, the Camel barn! Take a look:

The love, kindness, and comradery shared that night was powerful and plentiful; the crowd’s reaction, awestruck and emotional. 

And what I’ve been hearing ever since is: “WE WANT MORE!”

With that in mind and with this month’s theme “Trying Something New and Different,” I would like to suggest something wild and over-the-top:  An Annual Benicia Drone Show!   

On December 20th, City Staff presented to Benicia City Councilmembers a proposal to create another two-day Independence Day celebration:  a Torchlight Parade followed by staged music and a drone show on July 3rd, with a music festival & fireworks on the 4th of July.  Downtown businesses would benefit greatly not just from the event itself, but from the goodwill and publicity that it would generate for town tourism.  And for the community, it would just be plain fun! 

The weekend event is a $250,000 investment requiring a considerable fundraising effort.  The City will fund $50,000, as it has done for years underwriting the annual fireworks and parade.  The Benicia Chamber of Commerce is on board and will act as the sponsorship headquarters. 

Pedrotti Hardware is all in! 

On behalf of Ace Hardware, I’ve committed to fund half the Drone Show’s production cost – $35,000 – as well as a return of the band, East Bay Mudd!  And Ace will help raise the funds, too.  Beginning January 2, my team will start asking for donations when you visit the hardware store.  Stop by and make a pledge.   This not only starts the fundraising, it helps us gauge community interest in the event. 

What you can do: 

1) Let your City Councilmembers know that you support the event.  They need your input in order to commit City resources.   2) Raise funds within your family, neighborhood, organization, or group of friends and send them to the Benicia Chamber, or drop off at the hardware store.   3) Mark your calendars and don’t forget to invite your family and friends.  Let’s enjoy the spectacle together!

For company/corporate sponsorship, please contact Mario Giuliani, Deputy City Manager, at 707.746.4289 or, or write to me at

Let’s create a new tradition in Benicia… An Independence Day Festival featuring the Benicia Drone Show!