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TEMECULA: 'Bigger and better' fireworks show for Temecula's FourthNo plans to scale back this year's festivities because of economyBy AARON CLAVERIE - [email protected] | Thursday, July 2, 2009 8:08 PM PDT ∞Loading…Increase FontDecrease Font email this storyprint this story Workers unload and stack fireworks Thursday for the city-sponsored display that is set for Saturday.

(Photo by Don Boomer - Staff Photographer) TEMECULA ---- Cities across the country are scaling back or canceling their Fourth of July celebrations this year because of the sickly state of their respective budgets.Not Temecula.Herman Parker, director of the city's Community Services Department, said this year's Fourth of July festivities, which include a parade, a party at the Ronald Reagan Sports Park and fireworks, will be what the city's residents have come to expect: "a wonderful event for the community.""We have not cut back anything at all," he said Thursday.The events, which will cost the city about $65,000, kick off at 10 a.m.

with the 17th annual Star Spangled Fourth of July Parade in Old Town Temecula.

The parade route starts on Old Town Front Street and travels north from Second Street to Moreno Road.Parker said the parade has about 60 entries: an assortment of community groups, clubs, equestrian units and bands.City officials said attendance for the city's various events is expected to be robust this year, thanks to a dearth of competing events on Saturday and the stellar reputation of the city's fireworks show, which attracts people from across Southwest County.Last year, about 8,500 people watched the parade and thousands more visited the area around the sports park to see the fireworks display.

Those who weren't at the sports park were camped out on street corners near the park or their front lawns.One of the entries that raised a bit of a dust storm in the days ahead of the parade is that of the Murrieta-Temecula Republican Assembly, which plans to have former U.S.

Border Patrol Agent Jose Compean riding on its float.Compean, a convicted felon who had his sentence commuted by President George W.

Bush earlier this year, is controversial in some circles for his involvement in a shooting and its cover-up near El Paso's border with Mexico.During their trial, Compean and his partner, Ignacio Ramos, were cheered by supporters of the U.S.

Border Patrol who argued that they were doing their job, trying to apprehend a man suspected of being a drug smuggler.Buttressing their case and fanning the flames of public outrage sparked by their conviction and imprisonment, the man shot by Ramos was later arrested and convicted of drug smuggling.Kowell, president of the assembly, has called Compean a "hero" and said it's an honor to have the former agent riding in the parade.

Compean is scheduled to ride on the assembly's hay wagon.After word spread of Compean's scheduled appearance at the parade, some people criticized the city for allowing a convicted felon to take part in the city's festivities.Parker said Thursday that the city does not place any restrictions on participants in the parade.After the parade ends, spectators will probably start making their way to the Ronald Reagan Sports Park, the site of the city's "Fun in the Park" celebration.The party, which runs from 2 to 10 p.m., includes food vendors, live music and a fun zone.At 9 p.m., the city's fireworks show is scheduled to start.Steve Jefferies of Rialto-based Pyro Spectaculars said this year's show, which is synced with music that will be broadcast by 101.3 FM KATY, will be "bigger and better than last year.""It will be really cool.

There's new stuff that came in from China," he said on Thursday as he worked with a crew to get the launch pad for the show assembled.Providing details from the show's run sheet, Jefferies said people who saw last year's show might have noticed the shells that created huge rings in the sky.

This year there will be rings inside of rings in doubles, triples and quad formations, he said.The show also will feature huge fireworks "cakes," large cake-shaped boxes that can be filled with hundreds of shells.

When a cake is lighted, the shells fire in quick succession, creating the colossal arrays that typically close fireworks shows.The music selections Pyro programmed for the show will include patriotic standards and some rock and country tunes.And, yes, there will be "Proud to Be an American," the Lee Greenwood hit that enjoyed a revival in the days after the attacks of Sept.

11, 2001."Can't have a fireworks show without that song.

I wouldn't allow it," Jefferies said.Call staff writer Aaron Claverie at 951-676-4315, ext.


Saturday-- Where: Old Town Front Street, north on Second Street to Moreno Road-- Parking: Car-pooling is recommended.

For those who can handle a walk of a few blocks, there might be parking on Pujol Street to the west.FUN IN THE PARK & FIREWORKS SHOW-- When: 2 to 10 p.m.-- Where: Ronald Reagan Sports Park, 30875 Rancho Vista Road-- What: City of Temecula celebrates America from 2 to 10 p.m.

with food vendors, live music and a fun zone at the park.

Fireworks set to start at 9 p.m.-- Parking: Lots near the sports park fill up fast.

Longtime area residents recommend getting there early, parking at the nearby high school, a friend's house or the Palomar Village shopping center at Rancho California and Margarita roads.
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