Donors, neighbors come together for the Fourth

Not one hour after the gates opened at La Crescenta Elementary on Wednesday afternoon, locals had claimed their spots on the schoolyard with chairs and umbrellas five hours before the fireworks would begin.

Around 4,000 people were expected to view fireworks at the school nearby the launching place at Crescenta Valley High School. Many more would watch them from nearby homes.

The sixth annual event put on by the Crescenta Valley Fireworks Assn. cost $45,000 that mostly came from community donors and funds raised from last year’s event.

“It’s just everybody that makes this event wonderful,” said Steve Pierce, an association member. He said each year, many families will watch the show from their own backyards and will donate to the association.

“I would say we probably have anywhere from 75 to 100 donors that give money just because they watch the fireworks somewhere else,” he said.

This year, several rides attracted teens, adults and children in the early evening. Among the six food trucks, Pierce said the Grilled Cheese truck drew several people to the event before it had started.

Among the locals who came out for the event was Glendale resident Todd Amirkhani and his 2-year-old who would see fireworks for the first time.

“It looks like a lot of fun, especially for my young one,” Amirkhani said.

Pasadena resident Cloe Mayes Yocum was there not only for the fireworks.

She came mainly for the classic rock and Motown band Stinky Felix. While in high school in Pasadena during the late 1960s and early ’70s, Yocum saw them perform and only recently found them on Facebook.

“This is why I’m here,” she said. “I haven’t seen them in 42 years.”

Drummer Don Ross, a La Crescenta resident, said the group was slowly gaining the popularity it once had.

“We’re slowly building a crowd,” he said.

This year, the fireworks were dedicated to Army Spc. Nicholas Steinbacher, a former Crescenta Valley High School football player. Steinbacher was killed in late 2006 when a roadside bomb exploded as he was on night patrol in Baghdad. He was 22.

The fireworks would last for 22 minutes and synchronize at the very end with a live performance of the national anthem, sung by 9-year-old Dana Lee Ryan, a Mountain Avenue Elementary student.

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