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Costa Mesa gets a head start on celebrating the nation’s birthday

Costa Mesa had a patriotic Wednesday evening leading up to Independence Day.

The community celebration at the OC Fair & Event Center included picnicking, bike decorating, games, live music, burrito- and rib-eating contests, hundreds of free hot dogs served up by firefighters, and a dunk tank with City Council members willing to be submerged to benefit Save Our Youth, a local nonprofit.

Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) made an appearance to read a passage from the Declaration of Independence.

The evening was capped by a low-noise pyrotechnics show.

Community Fourth of July festivities and fireworks shows, many of them free, continue around Orange County on Thursday.

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