Lines of people eager to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday with music, food and fireworks formed well before Grand Park opened its gates Friday afternoon.
About 25,000 people are expected at the city's second annual Independence Day block party, although Grand Park has the capacity to hold twice as many.
Officials said this year's event was expected to be three times larger than last year's.
The borders of the block party spread beyond the 12-acre park and into the downtown streets, many of which were closed. Food vendors set up shop outside the gates, selling pizza and snow cones. Two stages played music: one run by local radio station ALT 98.7 FM played alternative indie rock and the other featured funk, disco and house music. Live bands began playing at 4 p.m.
"We're hoping to celebrate the Fourth of July by celebrating the many cultures that are represented by these genres of music," said Lucas Rivera, the park director.
This echoes Grand Park's overall mission of being "the park for everyone," Rivera said, with events that "allow communities to come to a central gathering spot."
One way it does so is by putting on free events.
That, along with the music, was what helped Kayla Aihara, 19, decide what to do for the holiday. She waited in line with friends from the Valley to get into the park right when it opened.
"We want to get to the front of the stage for Echosmith," she said. Although she said she's "not big on the Fourth of July," she was excited to see the band play.
Jordan Chrisman and Whitney Tyler, both 23 drove to the block party from Pomona after learning about it on the Internet. They had been looking for something to do for the holiday.
"I didn't want to have to host anything," Chrisman said.