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Stars & Stripes event draws crowd to Van Maren Park

Attendees gather at Van Maren Park for a Stars & Stripes event hosted by the city. // M. Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip—
A large crowd of attendees flocked to Van Maren Park in Citrus Heights last weekend for the city’s first-ever “Stars & Stripes” festivities and fireworks show.

In a statement emailed to The Sentinel on Friday, Mayor Tim Schaefer called the event a success.

“The Stars and Stripes event last Saturday was amazing and it exceeded my expectations,” Schaefer said. “But what even more important to me is the response from the community. So many happy comments as I circulated the crowd, the FB comments, emails and phone messages.”

Schaefer, who had been hesitant to support the event due to vocal objections from fireworks opponents, said the goal of bringing the community together was accomplished. He also credited the work of city staff, saying they showed up at 7 a.m. and “were still working at 10:30pm” when he left.

Food trucks lined Stock Ranch Road while a live band played from a stage set up near the roundabout that connects Stock Ranch Road, Woodside Drive, and Fountain Square Drive. The streets were closed to vehicle traffic as revelers with families and children gathered in an open grass area with chairs and blankets. The tribute band CC Seger performed live followed by the fireworks display.

In an email newsletter following the event, the city said triple-digit heat didn’t prevent attendees from coming out to set up lawn chairs and blankets at the park to enjoy music, food and the fireworks show. A Kids Zone was also set up with face painting and other arts and crafts for children.

The City Council in January voted 3-2 to approve the use of up to $80,000 in American Rescue Plan Act pandemic relief funds to be spent on the event, with costs going to cover traffic control, fireworks, performances and other related costs. Prior fireworks shows had been held at Sunrise Mall, but were privately funded and discontinued in 2012.

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