From swing to blues, fireworks to voodoo, a flyover to a little booze, the Fourth of July celebration at the Starlight Bowl Thursday offered something for just about everyone who trekked to Burbank’s hills for the event.
Fireworks fans arrived at Stough Canyon Park, which is located at the bottom of an approximately 400-foot climb to the Starlight Bowl gates, hours before a concert that featured former Super Bowl halftime band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
The Fourth of July represents a time of getting together for friends Linda Frank of Glendale and Sindy Thurman of Huntington Beach.
The duo enjoyed sandwiches and a lengthy catching-up conversation below shady oak trees amid a park packed with picnickers, many of them clad in red, white and blue.
“There’s such a convenience coming here since it’s right down the street from me,” said Frank, who said she has been attending the Starlight Bowl fireworks show the past five years.
“I’ve been to other shows all over, including at the Hollywood Bowl, and this is the best. This has a real sense of community.” she added.
Thurman’s home town of Huntington Beach offers a variety of activities, including a parade, pancake breakfast and a 5-K run.
Despite such offerings, Thurman ventured to Stough Park, where games included Cornhole and Connect 4 as well as some adults hiding liquor in cups and sports bottles in a green space ringed with “no alcohol” signs.
“There’s a lot going on [in Huntington Beach] and, honestly, it’s a lot less busy and a lot more down to earth here,” Thurmond said. “Plus, I get to hang out with my bestie.”
Valley Village couple Judith and Terry Matz did not select the Starlight Bowl for a specific performer, but rather to enjoy fireworks, music and being together.
“It’s always good here, everything,” Judith Matz said. “It’s safe, it’s fun, it’s close. That’s all you can ask for.”
While Terry Matz said he felt the experience was similar to the Hollywood Bowl or Dodger Stadium, he did appreciate the smaller crowd and venue.
“It’s easier to get here,” Terry said. “I don’t think it’s better or worse than the Hollywood Bowl, but it’s easier for us, so that’s a big bonus.”
Burbank fire and police personnel, along with staff from Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, attended and even lent a hand, including, in several instances, when firefighters pushed guests in wheelchairs up a 45-degree incline to the grass seating at the bowl’s top.
“For us, it’s a great opportunity to be part of a neat event for the community,” Burbank Fire Chief Eric Garcia said.
Garcia spent a good portion of his time near the fireworks setup and away from the bowl. He did, however, get a chance to greet several event attendees.
“It’s just seeing the families, quite honestly, that’s my highlight,” Garcia said.
Inside the bowl, arguably the best seats were furthest away in a grassy knoll toward the back end of the venue. There, event-goers enjoyed beer and wine, pizza, hamburgers and chips and room to dance to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and blues band Rumble King.
Prior to the fireworks, bowl staff also handed out 3-D glasses, which were supposed to enhance the viewing experience.
“For me, the most important reason for coming out was that you know the Starlight Bowl offers a very good experience at a very good price,” said La Crescenta resident Nancy Vitek, who was accompanied by her husband, Jim.
“You want to go out and have a good time, but you don’t want to spend money,” Nancy said. “That’s what I’m looking for.”