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Valley residents prepare for fireworks

Calexico readies for Christina Aguilera look-alike

July 03, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

If Calexicans squint really hard they'll see fireworks this Fourth of July.

While there won't be fireworks at Calexico's annual Fourth of July celebration at Crummett Park, there will be plenty of "oooo!-ing" and "ahhh!-ing" in other parts of the county.

At 9:30 p.m., skies above Imperial Valley College here will explode with a cornucopia of color as Freedom Fest 2001 closes with a fireworks spectacular set to music.

Rudy Schaffner, a Holtville pyrotechnician and organizer of the annual event, said the fest's 2001 fireworks display, orchestrated by Fireworks America of Lakeside, will be the biggest ever locally.

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"It's the biggest show that's ever been shot in the Valley, I know that," Schaffner said.

The fest starts at 6 p.m. when concessionaires open. Entertainment starts at 8 p.m., leading to the big bangs.

This year's event is sponsored by the Brawley, El Centro, Holtville and Imperial chambers of commerce.

Because radio station KXO 107.5 FM will be simulcasting music to accompany the IVC fireworks display, Calexicans could possibly close their eyes, turn up their radios super loud and imagine fireworks.

Or Calexicans could make a trek and check out a Northend fireworks display.

In Calipatria, fireworks will blast off at 9:15 p.m.

Northend Fireworks Committee chairman Trey Faubion said Calipatria's Fourth of July spectacular will be at Cliff Hatfield Memorial Airport, with local radio station KSSB 100.9 FM broadcasting and giving away prizes before and during the exhibition.

The Northend committee is made up of Calipatria residents who raised money for the fireworks show through sponsorships.

For those who want to make a day of it in Calipatria, the city's firefighters are having a "water polo" tournament starting around noon in Rademacher Park. The firefighters play water polo by using firehoses to blast a ball attached to a steel cable across a field of play.

Also in Calipatria, the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Steps of Success program is having a skating tournament at the local skate park at 1 p.m. (safety gear is required).

That's great for Northenders, but what about Calexico's masses starved for entertainment?

It looks like the only fireworks down south will be supplied by residents angry at New Castle, Pa.-based Zambelli Fireworks Internationale, according to Hildy Carrillo-Rivera, executive director of the Calexico chamber.

"People are upset. One guy called and was very rude to our secretary. We told him we couldn't do anything," she said.

Zambelli backed out of its agreement to provide fireworks for Calexico's annual celebration 12 days before the event.

"For them to be so inconsiderate days before the event — they're gone," she said, meaning that group will never be used again by the Calexico chamber .

The Calexico chamber has soldiered on and will still be putting on an Independence Day celebration from 5-10 p.m. in Crummett Park.

"Whoever shows up will have a good time," Carrillo-Rivera said.

At the celebration, the chamber will sell beer and various non-profit groups have rented space to provide food, sodas and water.

Despite the lack of bombs bursting in the air there will be plenty of fun for all ages, Carrillo-Rivera said.

"We're going to have Galaxy DJ, a Christina Aguilera impersonator and dance contests for kids and adults," she said.

For those who can really groove — cash prizes!

Two local bands will entertain: Break from Society (a reggae outfit) will play from 8-9 p.m. and Thrust (a rock band) from 9-10 p.m.

Preceding the rockers and rollers, City Council members and Calexico Police Department Explorers will take part in a flag ceremony at 7 p.m.

To assuage Calexicans who think the Fourth of July is not the same without fireworks, kids will be allowed to have sparklers.

Those same kids might get a chance to cool down big-city style. Carrillo-Rivera said she'll ask Fire Chief Carlos Escalante to turn on the hose so the kids can get wet.

However, despite the prospect of water fun and Christina Aguilera II, Carrillo-Rivera knows some people demand seeing things explode on the Fourth of July.

For those people she said: "Go to Freedom Fest and come back and spend some time with us."

For those who do make the trip back down south, the Crummett Park party should be going strong till 11 p.m.-ish, she said.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419.

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