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Inyo prepares to celebrate Fourth of July

July 2, 2013

July 4 festivities will be happening on Thursday from Independence to Bishop (above), including running events, breakfasts, a parade, a softball tournament and pyrotechnics displays. Photo by Mike Gervais

In a letter to wife Abigail about the advent of independence in the American colonies, John Adams wrote, “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”
– “John Adams” by David McCullough

Bishop Volunteer Fire Department Engineer/Fireworks Chairman Dan Kunze said he recalls Adams’ words when he thinks about the importance of celebrating “our country’s greatest holiday” in befitting style.
Fun runs, parades, picnics, an arts and crafts show and, of course, fireworks are some of the many ways Eastern Sierra communities choose to honor, celebrate and revel in their personal and national freedom.


The City of Bishop is once again hosting its annual free-to-all Big Day at the Park, starting at 9 a.m. with a one-pitch softball tournament and open-play tennis, bocce ball and sand volley ball games. (For tournament registration, call 760-873-5863 or stop by 377 W. Line St.)
At 11 a.m., free public swim begins until festivities end at 4 p.m. No-cover live music with White Water, The River Church band, will start at 2 p.m. That’s just about the time that city officials will start serving up complimentary watermelon, ice cream and Vons-sponsored pie.
Don’t get too pooped to pop, though, because the 60th Annual Independence Day Fireworks pryo-musical presentation, “The Pride of America,” will come up right after the park event. Wye and Airport road gates at the Bishop airport will open at 4 p.m. and the show and KIBS 100.7 simulcast will begin at 9.
The requested fireworks show donation remains $20 per vehicle – full of as many people as can safely and sanely fit in. But save room for coolers or picnic baskets. Guests are also welcome to set off their own California-Fire-Marshal-approved Safe and Sane fireworks on site and partake of Rhino raffle tickets sales and food and drink vendors.

Independence, a community named for the freedoms Americans celebrate each Fourth of July, is planning an Independence Day bash that includes a dance, flag-raising ceremony, a fun run/walk, a parade, arts and crafts fair and much more.
The Fourth of July celebration will kick off at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 3 with a traditional dance in Dehy Park.
Independence Day proper gets under way at 6:15 a.m. with the traditional flag-raising ceremony before residents head over to Dehy Park for a community pancake breakfast from 7-8:30 a.m. and the annual 4K/10K Run/Walk. Registration for the fun run/walk begins at 6:30 a.m. and the starting whistle sounds at 7 a.m.
An arts and crafts show is scheduled to begin on the Independence Courthouse lawn at 8 a.m.
The annual Independence Independence Day Parade will kick off at 10 a.m. and travel both north and south on U.S. 395. Following the parade, celebrations will move back to Dehy Park for a pie social at noon followed by a spelling bee at 1 p.m. and old time kids’ games at 2 p.m. The annual deep pit barbecue will run from 4-6:30 p.m. and the grand finale, a fireworks show hosted by the Independence Volunteer Fire Department, will begin at dusk at the Independence Airport.
Parade and race entry forms are available at a number of local businesses, including the Bishop Chamber of Commerce, Valley Market, Jenny’s Cafe and the Independence Shell station in Independence, the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce and the Travel Plaza/Winnedumah Casino.
Independence 4th of July T-shirts are also available now by calling (760) 920-2538 or (760) 878-2046.
While residents and visitors enjoy the Independence Day festivities in Independence, they should keep in mind that the Eastern California Museum will be open for the holiday. The museum will delay opening its doors until after the parade.
“Visitors and residents enjoying the many activities on Independence Day in Independence are invited to make a tour of the air-conditioned museum a part of their day,” Museum Director Jon Klusmire said. “Besides the museum’s permanent exhibits, the featured summer exhibit is ‘Building Bill’s Ditch: The Los Angeles Aqueduct, 1913- 2013.’”
After the parade delay, the Museum and its bookstore, located at 155 N. Grant St., will remain open throughout the day until 5 p.m.
Call the museum at (760) 878-0258 for more information, or check the museum Web page at


Carrying on a tradition more than three decades old, volunteers with the Big Pine Fire Department will gather at Mendenhall Park to feed their community while helping friends, neighbors and strangers alike celebrate Independence Day.
The town’s July 4 festivities kick off at 8 a.m. with the traditional breakfast at the park and the 5K/10K Fun Run at the fire house on Main Street.
The run, which according to firefighter Rich Coffman attracts an average of 50 participants each year, takes walkers and joggers from the fire station, into the cooler foothills and canyons of the Sierra and back to Mendenhall Park where they can enjoy the hearty spread prepared by the department.
Coffman said breakfast will include pancakes, sausage, mixed fruit, eggs, coffee, orange juice – all the essentials for refueling after the 5K/10K or filling up for the day ahead. The cost of the breakfast is included in runners’ entry fee; all non-runners can partake for a $5 donation.
Residents and visitors can hang out at the park, go float the river, hit up their favorite fishing hole or relax under the swamp cooler for the next several hours, but they’re advised to be back to the park at 4 p.m. in time for the Big Pine Volunteer Fire Department’s annual July 4 barbecue.
At a cost of $12 for adults or $8 for seniors and children under 12, attendees can enjoy either barbecue ribs or chicken, corn on the cob, different kinds of salad, baked beans, watermelon and ice cream.
Tickets will be sold throughout the afternoon and evening for a 50/50 drawing, wrapping up festivities around 7 p.m., Coffman said.
All proceeds for the evening will go to the fire department, to help the volunteers purchase needed equipment or otherwise serve their community.
According to Coffman, putting on the July 4 celebration for residents and visitors each year is no easy task – the department still has to be on call for fire and medical emergencies and often does receive calls for aid during the festivities – but it’s something the Big Pine firefighters and all local volunteers do on Independence Day because they enjoy being of service.
Anyone who wants to help the Big Pine firefighters this Thursday is invited to call Chief Damon Carrington at (760) 938-4400.

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