Proclaiming this year's 5 a.m. fireworks show in Ventura a smashing success, Mayor Jim Monahan on Wednesday suggested that the city consider an even earlier start to its July 4th celebrations in future years.
The mayor, stressing that "at the moment it's only a thought in my head," said he thinks that it might be a good idea to stage the traditional July 4th fireworks show the night of July 3.
"I think this was probably the best Fourth of July ever in Ventura," Monaghan said. "I think because of the success of the day that the morning fireworks will be continued next year.
"But in the future, we might need to have both a morning and an evening fireworks show," he said. "I've talked to a lot of people who like both. Another option would be to have the fireworks on July 3 as a prelude to the 4th. That way the 4th could be for quieter events like family picnics."
Ventura's fireworks were held early this year because of traffic congestion and some crowd problems at the beach during nighttime displays in past years.
Monahan, estimating the morning crowd at between 10,000 and 20,000, said he watched the fireworks from his boat off the Ventura Pier.
Sees No Early Action
The mayor made it clear that he expects no immediate action on his idea of starting the nation's annual birthday party a day ahead of most of the rest of the country, but he said he will present it anyway to the special events committee of the Ventura City Council.
Many who had not planned to attend the pre-dawn show Tuesday were jolted awake by it, particularly residents in the city's downtown and beach areas. In hillside neighborhoods, some residents took to their decks and rooftops to gaze at the display.
Along the beach, families with young children, either half asleep or exceedingly awake, sat on picnic blankets for the pyrotechnics.
Some even enjoyed the thought of arising for the early-morning ritual.
"It's like the Rose Bowl, only warmer," said Dan Snider, a San Fernando Valley resident who was visiting his grandchildren.