Response makes it clear: public wants changes on Fourth of July

by Peter Weinberger |

Last week I wrote a column about how recent changes on Independence Day festivities have impacted the quality of events and the participation of the public. This impacted the Freedom 5000 run, which was pushed to the week before the Fourth of July, a parade that started earlier, impacting attendance and participation, and a toned down version of the fireworks show, just to name a few issues.

My goal was to try and get ideas on the table so we could work with the city to get the mojo back. It’s not an issue of who’s right. The Fourth of July is a key component that makes Claremont, Claremont. These types of events bring us together.

It’s important city staff sees how much this means to the community, and takes a hard look at the impact recent changes have made.

Claremont has traditionally enjoyed large, sellout crowds for its Fourth of July fireworks show at Pomona College. This shot from 2023 shows how attendance has dwindled, with ample open space in the infield, and in bleacher seating to the rear. Some attendees also complained views of some the new, lower trajectory fireworks were blocked by the tree in foreground. Courier photo/Peter Weinberger

The Courier reached out to the public in many ways. We posted the information in print, on our website, created a poll, posted on Facebook and Instagram, and in the Thursday newsletter. The information was shared by others, with many having strong opinions. When combined about 36,500 people were informed, and they wrote 105 comments and counting. Another 110 took the poll, more than 21,000 viewed it on social media, with the remainder in the Courier print edition and newsletter.

This subject is significant to residents of Claremont. And it’s important that changes are made. In the Courier poll, 108 people responded that they wanted all events held on the same day, the clear preference by a three to one margin. There are 20 comments below the poll, and others on the Courier’s social media. We encourage you to check them out.

By the time you read this, the Independence Day committee will have met again. The Courier will attend to observe. It’s important we support and observe how 2024 comes together. Has participation improved? Is Memorial Park filled with families much of the day? What will the parade look like?

Because of advanced planning, you should not expect wholesale changes in 2024. But that doesn’t mean we can’t all contribute and participate in the process.

This year’s events are significant because there are so many who believe we can do better. The Courier wants to help and will continue to work with the city to inform our community. We intend support the city and to try and get more of us involved. I will commit more advertising dollars to spread the word. This is the year to get involved and move the needle.

There will be more information coming as we get closer to the holiday.

Here is the schedule of events for 2024:

Saturday, June 29

1K and 5K run/walk

Memorial Park

7:30 a.m. – 1K Kids fun run

8 a.m. – 5K run/walk


Thursday, July 4

Festival and parade, Memorial Park

7-10 a.m. — Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast

9 a.m. — Flag raising ceremony

10 a.m. — Parade

10 a.m.-2 p.m. — Festival

11 a.m.- 2 p.m. — T. Willard Hunter Speakers Corner

Concert and fireworks show, Pomona College Strehle Track

6:30 p.m. — Gates open

6:30 – 9 p.m. — Kiwanis Club BBQ

6:45 – 8:45 p.m. — Concert featuring Upstream (reggae/soca/Caribbean)

9 p.m. — Fireworks show by Pyrospectaculars




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