Fireworks, Parades, and the Disneyland Effect
Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Even though Memorial Day is really the unofficial start of summer, the Fourth of July weekend is the official start of what I call the “Disneyland Effect.” It’s that time when there are so many people walking around town, they simply start walking in the streets like they’re at Disneyland. It can be a lot of fun if you’re not in a hurry — town is hopping this weekend!

Parade passes in front of Kelley House.The weekend starts out with a bang. At 9 pm tonight, the fireworks will be blasting out over Noyo Harbor from Pomo Bluffs Park in Fort Bragg. Parking is at Todd Point off Ocean View Drive, and they request a $5 donation.

There are 2 big events on Saturday: the Fourth of July Parade in Mendocino, and the World’s Largest Salmon BBQ in Noyo Harbor. The parade is a big thing in Mendocino, as 5000 people line Main and Lansing Streets to watch. Since the town only has 1000 residents, that’s quite an influx! The Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce is the sponsor of the parade. The official judges are located down across the street from the Kelley House Museum, which provides a great viewing area. The lawn slopes down towards the street, so lots of people gather there to watch. The Kelley House also serves food and drinks (including beer) all afternoon. Regardless of where you watch the parade, come on down to Kelley House after the parade — Kevin and the Coconuts (a very popular local band) will be playing, and people will be dancing.

The World’s Largest Salmon BBQ takes place down in Noyo Harbor, where there will be another 5000 people in attendance. The salmon comes from Alaska this year, because salmon fishing is currently banned off the California Coast. This BBQ has been happening for many years, and it’s a big deal. Local celebrities man the grills, too. (Debra DeGraw, CEO of the Chamber, once told me she had to burn the clothes she wore while cooking because she couldn’t get the salmon smell out.)

These are the biggies, but there are many things going on this weekend…. Summer is now in full swing, and there are events all along the coast. The Mendocino Music Festival starts in a couple of weeks for its 23rd season, and I’ll post more about that soon.

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