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A Birthday Party Like No Other

AmericaFest lived up to expectations with a dazzling, sparkling July 4th show

Published on Tuesday, July 5, 2022 | 5:59 am

The occasions of America’s 246th birthday,  the Rose Bowl’s 100th birthday and AmericaFest’s 96th birthday combined gloriously into a sparkling, dazzling Fourth of July party at the Rose Bowl Stadium Monday evening.

Thousands filled the east, west and south sides of the stadium, joined by tens of thousands more viewers in Brookside Park outside the stadium. Add to that hundreds more viewers high above the Rose Bowl in homes overlooking the  Arroyo Seco, and to the south from South Pasadena, and further south from decks and balconies miles away in Highland Park. 

Pyro Spectaculars by Souza set off more about 1.5 tons of fireworks, powered by more than 30,000 pounds of equipment used to fire 8,000 shells from scores of mortars. 

The effect was overwhelming, seeming at times that the sky was filled from horizon to horizon with bursting, multi-colored circles of lights, stars, waterfalls and sprays,  with a din loud enough to set off car alarms. 

“I’ve been coming here since I was a kid, and my parents brought me here,” said Roberta Molina, of Arcadia, parked in the upper rows of the Rose Bowl, with children and grandchildren. “I’m sure they’ll all bring their kids here one day,” she said, looking at her offspring.

Hours before the fireworks painted the Rose Bowl skies, TNT Motocross riders energized the crowd with dramatic loops and runs though ramps and loops and straightaways across the stadium floor. 

A solemn “Roll Call of Heroes” saluted San Gabriel Valley members of the military who lost their lives in battle from Iran to Afghanistan. 

Just before thousands of fuses were electronically ignited to start the evening’s fireworks performance, upcoming country music star Drake Milligan delivered a pleasing country set, showcasing new and older material, with just a touch of Elvis Presley, for good measure.

Milligan recently played the Stagecoach Festival, country cousin to the Coachella Festival in Indio,  and is headlining his own tour this summer.

The 25-minute fireworks show—billed as the longest-running and largest such show in Southern California—more than lived up to expectations with an opening roar and bursts of colorful explosions, through to the final patriotic finale. 

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