What Would the 4th of July Be Without The Parks?









New America Media, News Report, Jacqueline Garcia, Posted: Jul 05, 2016

Photo: Brett C.S. Roberts with his nephew and niece at Burton Chace Park in Marina del Rey.(Photos by J. Garcia, Eastern Publishing Group)

LOS ANGELES–Throughout the Southland, the evening of July 4th, lit up with fireworks, was a joyful end to a day that families across Los Angeles spent enjoying county parks.

Ana and Esteban Estrada started their celebration at Exposition Park in South Los Angeles at the 4th of July Community Festival and Fireworks Show, hosted by councilmembers from the 8th and 9th council districts. As the time approached for the fireworks show, the couple – originally from El Salvador – snagged a space on the California African American Museum lawn.

“I enjoy coming to the park,” Ms. Estrada said in Spanish. “There are a lot of people and we have a lot of fun.” She says that the park is very clean and that her family visits it very often, as it is close to home.

For Burbank resident Bon Jun Koo and his family, the day starts with a visit to his cousins’ house. The family enjoys Korean barbeque and the children play games during the day. As the evening approaches, the family walks to Burbank’s McCambridge Park.

“We like to go at night to see the fireworks with the family,” said the father of two. “My kids enjoy that very much.”

Brett C.S. Roberts enjoyed a barbecue day with his family and friends at the Burton Chace Park in Marina del Rey. On the grass overlooking the water, his group set up tables and chairs with canopies.

Roberts says that when he’s in L.A. he also likes to enjoy time at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area. “It’s a good place to go fishing,” he said. “I like L.A. County parks because of their convenience, beauty and affordability.”

East Los Angeles resident Arturo Cervantes says that his holiday starts with a gathering at Saybrook Park where he meets up with his extended family. There are around 20 of them when the whole group is convened, he says proudly.

“The whole family gathers at the park and we usually cook Mexican food for the adults and American food for the children,” he said.

While some of them play soccer, others cook the carne asada (steak), elotes (corn), and nopalitos (cactus), and make the hot dogs and hamburgers for the children. Then in the evening the family goes to see the fireworks, in Long Beach or Santa Monica.

No matter where they’re from, for families throughout Los Angeles, it wouldn’t be the 4th of July without the parks.
Jacqueline Garcia is a reporter for Eastern Group Publications. She wrote this story for New America Media. 


Photo: Ana y Esteban Estrada enjoyed July 4 at Exposition Park in South Los Angeles. 



The 4th of July at La Mirada Park

By Cindy Maldonado

LA MIRADA, CA. — About a half-mile down the street, that’s where we always park. We pull up to the parking lot in front of the Albertson’s supermarket around 8:30 p.m. My Dad says this is the most convenient place, considering that it’s last minute. We carry our blankets and cross the street. I’m a little anxious as we navigate the maze of houses.

We walk briskly, avoiding the oncoming headlights, dodging cars that desperately want a parking spot. The cool breeze and the faint conversations coming from driveways remind me that the time is almost upon us. As always my Dad is yelling from up front to speed it up.

As I reach the last house, I’m met with relief. Kids are running around, waiting for the show to start; the neon lights from their toys are flashing up ahead. I cross the street and set my feet upon the grass. The rattling of food vendors’ carts and the smoke of barbeque fill the air. Music blares from radios people have playing at their spots.

I find a hill, lay down my blanket and kick off my shoes. I face the flag and wait for the national anthem to begin, and for the first explosion of color to fill the sky.

Cindy Maldonado is a reporter for “VoiceWaves,” a New America Media youth-produced community media hub in Long Beach.

Parks Draw Many Cultures

By Fredy Ceja (as told to Ariceli Martinez, a reporter with La Opinión.)

DOWNTOWN, L.A. — I live in downtown Los Angeles and I often go to Grand Park. On July 4th they have a big event with music, food trucks, and a fireworks show. Fireworks are illegal throughout the county, but in Grand Park we can enjoy them. It’s a nice place to spend Independence Day.

What I enjoy most is the participation of the people. I look forward to the 4th of July every year, and it’s because of Grand Park. And it’s not just families–people visiting from all over the world gather there on that day to celebrate America. It’s a diverse group of people that comes together. The park makes us see that we are a nation of many different cultures, but together we can raise our American flag and say we’re Americans. ( NAM / IM )

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