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Fourth of July week in Monterey County: Fireworks, bike valet parking, and more

Biking to activities on Independence Day and other days of this busy holiday week helps reduce holiday traffic congestion and carbon emissions, and increases your fun! Included in this post are tips to bike or bike-and-ride to activities; where all fireworks are banned, and where to find legal fireworks shows; and what some of the other special activities are this week.
Want to bike and not yet savvy about California bike laws or local ordinances? Start with this summary: Be Cool, Be Safe – Bike Law Summary & Advocating for Biking

First: respect local fireworks ordinances!

Monterey County’s dry summers mean increased risk of fire. Fire-prevention tips are included in our posts Camping in Monterey County and California Wildfire Prevention — and Being a Responsible Visitor on the Big Sur Coast. Specific to fireworks:
  • All fireworks, including “safe-and-sane ones,” are banned in the cities of Del Rey Oaks and Monterey, and in all unincorporated areas of Monterey County, including census designated places, unincorporated communities, and other areas. This includes that any type of fireworks are banned in the following and other unincorporated areas: Aromas, Big Sur, Boronda, Bradley, Cachagua, Carmel Valley, Castroville, Chualar, Corral de Tierra, Del Monte Forest / Pebble Beach, East Garrison, Elkhorn, Las Lomas, Lockwood, Moss Landing, Pajaro, Pine Canyon, Prunedale, San Ardo, San Benancio, San Lucas, Spreckels, Toro Park.
  • Other Monterey County cities have various ordinances regarding safe-and-sane fireworks, etc. Check local media as Fourth of July 2019 nears to find articles such as Joe Szydlowski’s in the June 28, 2019 Californian (scroll down Joe’s article for fireworks ordinances and details for various Monterey County cities): https://www.thecalifornian.com/story/news/2019/06/28/fireworks-fun-and-4th-july-all-you-need-know-celebrate/1589174001/.
  • Fireworks questions? Local firefighters will be happy to answer your fireworks questions! A list of all Monterey County fire departments, with links, are available on the county website: http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/government/departments-a-h/emergency-communications-911/agency-links/fire.

For celebrations in Monterey County during the week of Independence Day, plus tips for people who bike or bike-and-ride to these activities, keep reading below.

Freedom - bike rack atop car
Freedom! We’re set to celebrate it!”  The duo with the bikes above was about to move their car to a long-term parking spot, so they could celebrate Independence Day weekend car-free, getting around on two wheels.
Join them! Use a bike-and-ride option. If you bike-and-ride (or just ride) Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST), note MST’s Independence Day schedule changes. Also refer to Bicycling Monterey’s tips, “What to do when bike racks on buses are full, or when there’s no rack on an MST trolley, and other MST tips.”
Will you be biking to fireworks shows or other evening activities? See tips for night riding.

Activities for 2019

Nearly all activities are free. Check with each organizer (links are provided) for any updates, additional details, or if you have questions for them.

  • July 3, 2019: King City will have a fireworks show July 3, 2019 beginning at dusk at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds, 625 Division Street. Organized by the King City Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture, gates open at 7:45 p.m. with a $1 admission fee; children age 5 and younger are free. http://kingcitychamber.com
  • July 4, 2019: The City of Greenfield’s free activities begin at 5 p.m. at Patriot Park and include art and live music by The Vick Silva Band. The free fireworks display begins at dusk. Details on Greenfield Cultural Arts Center’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/greenfieldartscenter/
  • July 4, 2019: City of Soledad free activities include a parade, live entertainment, and more, including a free fireworks show that begins at dusk. For activity locations, hours, and other details, refer to https://www.facebook.com/Soledad4thofJuly/.
  • July 4, 2019: The City of Seaside’s Fourth of July event is again from 4:30-10:00 p.m. at Bayonet Black Horse Golf Course at 1 McClure Lane, Seaside (off General Jim Moore Blvd). Free activities include concerts featuring Red Beans and Rice at 5:30 and Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin with Jimmy Vivino at 7:30 plus a variety of free family fun activities and a free 9:30 p.m. fireworks show. Details at http://www.ci.seaside.ca.us/656/4th-of-July or call 831-899-6800. Bike Seaside! As of 5/30/19 [confirmed 6/12/19], City of Seaside will have a free bicycle / active transportation valet parking station for this event. City encourages all who are able to bike, skate, scoot, walk, or carpool or ride-share.
  • July 4, 2019: City of Gonzales parade begins at 11 a.m. Decorated bicycles are welcome to participate. Details: https://gonzalesca.gov/residents/general-info/events/fourth-july-2019No fireworks show.
  • July 4, 2019: Spreckels community will have various activities, among those, some races and a parade. Details: https://spreckelsmd.specialdistrict.org/2019-07-04-spreckels-4th-of-july-celebration-2019 No fireworks show. Also note that no safe-and-sane or any type of fireworks are allowed in unincorporated Monterey County, including Spreckels. 
  • July 4, 2019: City of Monterey’s activities include a pancake breakfast at Fire Station #11, beginning at 7 a.m.; parade beginning at 10 a.m.; and the Big Little Backyard Bar-B-Que and Entertainment Extravaganza (formerly “Big Little Lawn Party”) on the Colton Hall lawn. At the Big Little Backyard event, there will again be a free bicycle / active transportation valet parking station (skateboards, strollers, wagons, etc. also welcome) with valet service again provided by Green Pedal Couriers and Friends. Food available for purchase, or feel free to bring your own picnic. Details on the City’s website about those and other activities—among those, free Monterey Pops concert at Golden State Theatre, Cooper Molera Adobe open house, and more: http://monterey.org/City-Hall/Newsroom/July-4th. No fireworks show. Also note that no safe-and-sane or any type of fireworks are allowed in City of Monterey.
  • July 4, 2019: The City of Pacific Grove’s activities are focused at Caledonia Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m and include a variety of free entertainment along with a $10 lunch—or feel free to bring your own picnic. Details: https://www.pacificgrove.org/events/community-events/4th-of-july-bbq/792No fireworks.
  • July 4, 2019: City of Carmel’s activities are focused at Devendorf Park. Confirm hours and details with the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea https://ci.carmel.ca.us/event/4th-july-celebration (as of 6/30/19, city’s website states hours are noon to 3 p.m.; Visit Carmel’s website states conflicting hours—noon to 4 p.m. and noon to 3 p.m., and Carmel Chamber site’s hours may also be incorrect, as the listing also refers to a mayor no longer in office).  No fireworks.
  • July 6, 2019: City of Salinas – First Saturday History Walk in the City of Salinas. Details: https://www.salinaspubliclibrary.org/learn-explore/adult-learning/events/first-saturday-history-walk No fireworks.
  • For more Monterey County Fourth of July week activities, check local media sources, including—but not limited to— print newspapers / digital media Monterey County Weekly, Monterey County Herald, Salinas Californian, King City Rustler, Soledad Bee, Gonzales Tribune, Greenfield News, Pacific Grove’s Cedar Street Times, and Carmel Pine Cone.

Below, more tips for biking to

activities throughout Monterey County.

  • This holiday weekend will be a fun–and busy–time in beautiful Monterey County. Whenever possible, please use bicycling or other alternative transportation. There are so many benefits.
  • Can’t bike all the way there? Consider using a bike-and-ride option, such as an MST bus, a hotel shuttle, or your vehicle’s bike rack. As mentioned above, note MST’s schedule changes for 4th of July, and see Bicycling Monterey’s most popular bike-and-ride tips for MST.Bike and ride MST Jazz Line downtown Monterey
  • Don’t have a bike? See local bike rentals or local bike shops that sell new and used bikes. It’s a busy time for rentals, so avoid disappointment: reserve in advance, or call ahead to check availability at any rental location.
  • Besides the free bike valet parking at the City of Monterey and City of Seaside 4th of July events mentioned above, what about parking your bike at other times and locations? See the bicycle parking and bike security sections in the Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide.

Headed to the beach?Dad & Son trailabike Del Monte Beach - closeup - Mari

Celebrate the freedom of living in the USA by staying free of traffic and parking challenges during this Independence Day weekend.  Like that view from a Fort Ord bikeway above the Monterey Bay?  So does Leo Kodl, who you’ll see out riding a recumbent, a folding bike, and other types of bikes.

Leo Kodl local avid cyclist and bike advocate rides many types including recumbent

Leo Kodl folding bike at Monterey post office

Wherever you bike, please be a good ambassador for bicycling! Know what local ordinances and etiquette are about sidewalk riding, know CA bike laws, and make use of other riding skills and safety tips.
What about sidewalk riding?Seaside young boy April 2011Sidewalk riding is often legal. It’s sometimes appropriate. And it’s sometimes safer, especially for people under about age 13. Nonetheless,  it is often less safe than biking streets.
  • What’s important to know? Listen to a 2-minute audio and read details about sidewalks and crosswalks; see “Bicycling on sidewalks: misconceptions and advisories.”
  • Sidewalk riding is governed in California by local jurisdictions. Examples of places where sidewalk riding is prohibited are in the City of Monterey, along Alvarado Street; and in the City of Salinas, on Main Street in Oldtown. For specific ordinances for those cities and other local cities, see the sidewalk section of  Riding skills, safety, and California bike laws: tips for children, teens, and adults.
  • Remember that even where sidewalk riding is allowed, and you decide it is your best option, it’s important to be a good ambassador for bicycling! Bike slowly on sidewalks, yield to pedestrians, give a friendly and audible signal if–slowly, please–overtaking and passing a pedestrian, take care not to block entrances to buildings, and so on.
More tips helpful to visitors, or locals on stay-cation:Salinas bike map

* * * * *

Info below is simply archived. It has not been updated for July 2019.

For 2019 info, refer to the info above.

Fireworks info from 2018: “Fireworks stands open up in Seaside, Marina, Salinas Valley” by Tom Wright in the June 29, 2018 Monterey County Herald; “As July 4 nears, here are 5 things to know about fireworks in Salinas” by Joe Szydlowski in the June 22, 2018 Californian).

Monterey County’s 2017 Independence Day celebrations include these and more:

(1) SALINAS: July 1, 2017 is the 4th annual Adrian Garcia Memorial Bike Ride, Salinas. Click here to learn more. (2) GREENFIELD: City of Greenfield will host a July 4, 2017 celebration at Patriot Park, including fireworks display; see poster below for details. You may also wish to skim over Bike Greenfield tips. (3) KING CITY: In addition to other July 4 festivities in King City, there will be a fireworks display hosted by the King City Chamber of Commerce; details in King City Rustler. (4) GONZALES: Decorated bicycles are welcome to participate in the 11 a.m. parade; details in the Salinas Californian. (5) MONTEREY: A free bicycle valet parking station (skateboards, strollers, wagons, etc. welcome also) will be provided by Green Pedal Couriers and Friends at the corner of Jefferson and Pacific Streets, Monterey for the City of Monterey’s Big Little Backyard Lawn Party on July 4, 2017. To volunteer to help with the valet station, or for valet parking questions, contact GPC owner Mike Baroni, 831-920-8181. For details about the Lawn Party or other City of Monterey Fourth of July 2017 festivities, visit the City’s website: http://monterey.org/City-Hall/Newsroom/July-4th.

For more activities, see “Monterey County offers plenty of Fourth of July festivities” by Chelcey Adami in the 6/30/17 Salinas Californian. Also check the Master Calendar for Bicycling Monterey County (and for regularly scheduled rides, call ahead to see whether they are on holiday break), and the Monterey County Weekly, Monterey County Herald, and the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau/See Monterey blog.

NOTE: Check with the sources referred to for 2017 updates, as the remainder of this post is not being updated for 2017.
About fireworks
Even if 2015 wasn’t a drought year (and it is!), July in Monterey County is a very dry time of year.
Fireworks can be a terrible fire hazard, as well as posing other hazards.

Just as with the City of Del Rey Oaks (note sign below), fireworks are prohibited in the City of Carmel, in the City of Monterey, and many other local cities and unincorporated areas.
Check with local fire departments, or other officials, for each jurisdiction’s fireworks policy.

As of this 2015 release, the following Monterey County cities allow CA state-approved fireworks (only): Gonzales, Greenfield, King City, Marina, Salinas, Seaside, Soledad. Contact local fire or police deparments or local city manager’s office for any updates to that list.

In King City, a $16,000 aerial fireworks display starts just after dark.  Details: http://www.facebook.com/events/1003872589636462/

City of Salinas: In 2015, only “Safe and Sane” fireworks are allowed in the Salinas. Both the fire chief and police chief have expressed it would be even better to allow no fireworks, just as is the policy already in the cities of Carmel, Del Rey Oaks, Monterey, and many other California cities. Learn more about the added challenges faced by public safety departments in Salinas with regard to fireworks. Click here for more info–a 2010 press release that remains relevant; check with the City of Salinas for any updates.

City of Marina also allows “safe and sane” fireworks. Click here for their regulations.

City of Seaside also allows “safe and sane” fireworks. Click here for their regulations.

Please also be mindful of your pets, and how fireworks may affect them. Click here.

Monterey County Health Department offers additional tips, in English and Spanish (click here for español): http://www.mtyhd.org/index.php/10-fireworks-safety-tips-for-the-fourth-of-july/

Local station KION shared this video in 2014 about related hazards, including sparklers. It’s still relevant. Photo below: Jesse Frener (at left) is a community volunteer, soccer player, and MPC student. He is pictured here volunteering at the outreach booth of Shoreline Church, inviting Shoreline attendees to bike with him in the City of Monterey’s 4th of July parade in 2014.

29 June 2014 and prior 009 MPC student and older guy re bike parade - featured

29 June 2014 and prior 008 Bike Parade Coming Up

Below are archived notes from 2015

Check with the sources cited below regarding any 2017 activities that may be scheduled, and any updates/changes to the info below.

  1. Salinas, the Monterey County seat – Memorial Bike Ride and BBQ for Adrian Garcia, followed by bike polo. People of all ages and abilities on all types of bicycles will honor Adrian’s memory on July 5th, 2015 as they cruise in tune with Salinas social cycling ride etiquette. Mass on July 4th; click for details. To learn more about the vibrant biking scene in the Monterey County seat, see tips for biking Salinas and “Vacation, staycation.”
  2. Carmel – 13th Annual (2015) 4th of July Celebration, in Devendorf Park. Also see tips for biking Carmel.
  3. King City – 2015 – Parade starts at 10:30 a.m., followed at 11:30 a.m. by Fourth of July in the Park: bicycle decorating, talent show, music, kids zone, and more at the park at 401 Division Street. You can also stay cool at King City pool, which opens at noon. A $16,000 aerial fireworks display starts just after dark.  Details: http://www.facebook.com/events/1003872589636462/
  4. Pacific Grove  – 2015 – 4th of July BBQ and live entertainment in Caledonia Park, just up from the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail. Bicycle valet parking—as well as parking for your stroller, children’s wagon, etc.—will be offered at Caledonia Park. This free service is being provided by Green Pedal Couriers and friends; tips are accepted. Questions? Want to help out? Call Mike Baroni of Green Pedal Couriers,  831-920-8181.Mike Baroni on MST to Watsonville - photo
  5. Spreckels – 2015 – races, parade, firemen’s muster, and more. If you haven’t biked Spreckels before, and you’re a bit out of shape, you’ll be delighted to see how flat this little community is. Biking in a parade? When decorating your bike, avoid decorations that could get caught in spokes or otherwise cause injury to you or others. Update: Miss bikes in parade? Thanks to , see them; #12 and 28+
  6. Monterey – 2015 (City of Monterey)
    • 7-11 a.m. Monterey Firefighters Charity pancake breakfast benefiting HER Helmet Thursdays spot Monterey Youth Museum (“MY Museum”).
    • 10 a.m. parade. To see some of the people who’ve biked in this annual parade, scroll to the end of this post.
    • 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Big Little Backyard lawn party with live bands, kids’ activities, food booths, and more.  Green Pedal Couriers and friends will again provide bike valet parking attendants to watch over your bike—or your stroller, children’s wagon, etc.—during the lawn party. The 2015 bike valet station will be at the corner of Jefferson and Pacific Streets. This is a free service; tips are accepted. Want to help out? Call Mike Baroni of Green Pedal Couriers,  831-920-8181. And biking librarian Inga (below) reminds people that the Friends of the Library book and movie sale will also be happening on Colton Hall lawn from 11 a.m. – 3 pm.!Friends of Library 4 July 2015 sale
    •  For details on the City of Monterey activities, click here to go to the City’s website.Librarian Inga of City of Monterey

Happy Independence Day!

This post was previously published on 20 June 2015. The top section of the post was updated for 2019. Lower section has some archived info from 2015-2018.

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