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All Day Fun for an All-American Holiday

Original post made by Janet Lafleur, Rex Manor, on Jun 27, 2013

Parades, picnics and fireworks, and everything decked out in red, white and blue. That's what the Fourth of July meant to me as a kid and it's what I look for to celebrate our nation's day of independence. Fortunately, these traditions live on in our area so that today's youngsters can experience summer's biggest holiday the good old-fashioned way.

There's something for everyone throughout the day--morning, noon and night--and it's even better if you bring a bike along for the Fourth of July fun.

Morning: Rose, White and Blue Parade in San Jose
I'm a little disappointed that there's not a big parade closer to home, but San Jose's Alameda Business District is hosting their grand Rose White & Blue Parade. The parade's roots began in 1896 with a Rose Carnival, which evolved into the Fiesta de Las Rosas from 1926 to 1969 and was revived as today's parade. The parade starts at 10 am from Lincoln High School in San Jose and wends its way through the Rose Garden neighborhood and down the shady historic district on The Alameda.

People on bikes, scooters, strollers or roller skates are welcome to join the parade and are encouraged to decorate them in roses, red, white and blue. Organizers will also have some decorations available the morning of the parade for those who need them. Just show up and sign up that morning starting at 8:30 am to decorate and be ready to ride by 10 am.

How to Get There: If you want to ride in the parade, you will need to take the VTA 22 bus on El Camino or drive to get there in time. To watch the parade, you can also take Caltrain from downtown Mountain View and walk or bike a mile to the parade route, or take the slower VTA 22 bus which should take you directly to the parade route. Note that transit will be on a holiday schedule.

Noon: Palo Alto Summer Festival & Chili Cook-off
A tradition for over 30 years in Palo Alto's Mitchell Park, the festival features live music and children’s activities including jumpy houses, balloon artist, face painting from noon-5 pm. But the highlight of the event is tasting a wide range of red-hot chili prepared by chefs battling for the chili championship. Chili tasting starts at 1:30 pm. There's a small fee to taste.

How to Get There: Mitchell Park is on the South side of Palo Alto, so it's an easy bike ride from Mountain View. See the map for bike routes ideas. Don't forget to bring a bike lock.

Night: Shoreline Amphitheatre July 4th Fireworks with the San Francisco Symphony.
As Mountain View residents, we get special perks for certain events at the Shoreline Amphitheatre, like the San Francisco Symphony's July 4th concert. It's too late this year to get in on the 2,000 free tickets for residents, but discounted lawn seats for $13.50 are available until the day of the show, which starts with a Radio Disney Family Festival at 5 pm.

The fireworks at the end of the concert draw even more people to the area, and you don't need a ticket to see them. The trick to getting close enough for a good view is to take the Permanente Creek Trail and find a spot on the golf course, or take the Stevens Creek Trail to my favorite spot, the grassy kite flying area near Shoreline Park entrance. The fireworks usually start after dark (between 9:15 and 9:30 pm) so you'll need an extra layer of clothing to keep warm and bike lights for the ride home.

How to Get There: For the concert or fireworks, take either the Permanente or Stevens Creek Trails. The concert offers supervised bike parking near the amphitheatre entrance. After the show, the trails will be crowded. Expect to walk or ride your bike slowly on the trails until the crowds thin out.

Tips for Decorating Your Bike

Bike decorations don’t have to be elaborate or expensive, but they have to stay put when the bike is moving without endangering the rider. So far I have 100% success in that department, unless you count ripping the crepe paper woven in my spokes when pumping my tires.

While decorating a bike is like a kid’s craft project where almost anything goes, here are my top tips:

* For virtually free decorations, grab images off the internet and print them on card stock.
* If you shop at a party store, set a budget before you go in. It’s easy to overspend.
* If you ride after dark, battery operated lights punch up whatever else you do.
* Zip ties are the #1 way to attach things, but sticky backed Velcro, rubber bands and ordinary tape work too.

San Jose Rose, White & Blue Parade: Web Link
Palo Alto Summer Festival and Chili Cook-Off: Web Link
Shoreline Amphitheatre 4th of July Concert & Fireworks: Web Link
Fourth of July Bike Fun Map: Web Link

Comments (9)

Posted by sEaN
a resident of Gemello
on Jul 1, 2013 at 11:45 am

You are one thick layer of cheese and corn lady.

-I will mention the biggest baddest firework display that is unknown to so many people. Its a little rough around the edges and don't front when you're there (its not your' neighborhood, expect a crowd and a lot of ILLEGAL BIG fireworks!

**ALVISO...Thats whats really up on the 4th

Posted by Janet Lafleur
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 1, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

We love Alviso's funky charm and deep history as the 19th century port of San Jose. We ride there a lot for birdwatching and we've even stopped in at Vahl's for dinner on one of our bike dates.

But this year we already bought discounted lawn seats for the show at Shoreline. Maybe if we look east we'll catch some of the action in Alviso.

Posted by Oh Please
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 1, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Sean: I ride to Alviso all the time. Love it, great loop especially for a night ride with a stop of course at Vahl's for a beer. I've been going down to Alviso since I could drive, back when a 7 was the third digit in the year.
You seem to be portraying it in an overly exaggerated "bad part of town" that "might scare people" Its not like that at all. Its always been quirky, no doubt, but I know scarey places, Alviso isn't one of them.
I'm not quite sure how you see the town, but I see you as the one whose trying to front a bit. No need, people will check out Alviso w/out the need for any warnings ;)

Posted by sEaN
a resident of Gemello
on Jul 1, 2013 at 6:54 pm

You're right, Alvoso is a lot like Atherton. SMH. Not trying to front but it's not the symphony at Shoreline. Lame.

Posted by Oh Please
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 2, 2013 at 5:54 am

Who said Alviso was the symphony at Shoreline? Who even mentioned Atherton beside you? Why are you so hung up on Alviso being "Not like..." No its not like any other town. Its just lovable old Alviso.
Just say "The Alviso celebration is fun, check it out" No warning or qualification is needed. Nobody is afraid of Alviso, and I'm getting the feeling you're more afraid of Atherton than anyone else is afraid of Alviso. You should come visit Atherton one day. Its not so bad, no need to be afraid.

Posted by Pedal to Freedom
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jul 2, 2013 at 6:39 am

The 4th of July and bikes are a match made in heaven. We like to ride over to Great America, pick the best area in the parking lot to watch the fireworks. They never charge bikes and you get to go right up to the fence and get the best viewing area. After the show there is no such thing as a traffic jam as we just slide right past it all on our bikes. I'd say between traffic in, searching for a spot to park(that you had to pay for) and the huge mess of traffic after its done, I bet we save about 2 hours of time otherwise spent dealing with stressed out people in cars.
Side note, why is sEaN so afraid to go to Alviso? Its fun!!!

Posted by Huh me again
a resident of Gemello
on Jul 4, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Both of you are stupid and know nothing.

Posted by Adult
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 5, 2013 at 8:54 am

Ha, my 7 year old tries to end arguments that way. "Oh yah? Oh Yah? Well you're stupid". Simply a brilliant counter point.
Its cute when a 7 year old does it.

Posted by Omg
a resident of Gemello
on Jul 6, 2013 at 9:39 am

So back when 7 was the third digit of the year and you started driving makes you at least 16 + 34 .......and you have a 7 year old? LMAO! I wonder why we can't agree on anything ...LOL....if you know what that means.

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