Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

The Rockets' Red Glare 

Where to catch cool fireworks shows around town

Wednesday, Jun 30 2004
If you think the American Revolution inspired the invention of fireworks, you're in for a surprise. The story goes that about 2,000 years ago a cook in China accidentally mixed three common kitchen ingredients together (saltpeter, sulfur, and charcoal), stuffed the concoction into a bamboo shoot, and lit it up. The result: the prequel to the M-80. Firecrackers soon became commonplace at celebrations, and this weekend you can enjoy them at various explosive Independence Day bashes around town.

Fireworks mixed with music is the chief draw at the family-oriented "An Evening of Magic and Music 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular" at Shoreline. There, the San Francisco Symphony performs a concert that starts with classical American music -- think old standards like "God Bless America" -- before moving on to tunes from Disney flicks such as Beauty and the Beast and Pocahontas, as clips from the films run on multiple screens surrounding the amphitheater. Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid, sings tunes from that movie, and then the evening ends with an eye-popping fireworks display.

Those who'd rather stick closer to home can always watch Pier 39's Fourth of July Waterfront Festival, but why settle for the same old, same old? City Kayak offers a special "Trip to Independence Day Fireworks" that takes folks out at dusk to paddle past the Bay Bridge, Coit Tower, and the Transamerica Pyramid before ending up under the pyrotechnics at Aquatic Park. Experienced kayakers are welcome, as are kids accompanied by grown-ups.

But don't wait for the evening to kick up your heels -- not when Yerba Buena Gardens' "We Are Family" Picnic rages all day long. Now in its seventh year, this old-fashioned July Fourth do has all the trimmings of a traditional American picnic with one exception: There are queer moms and dads grouped around these blankets and baskets. Although you won't catch any fireworks at the famed LGBT event, you'll still see loads of performers, including the divinely weird Jackie Jones and Her Tap Dancing Cat (best known for their saw-playing act at local flea markets). After all, if you're going to stay in the Bay Area for the holiday, you may as well celebrate San Francisco-style.

About The Author

Karen Macklin


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"