Spotlight Columns

Celebrate 236 years of American freedom

By From page B2 | June 27, 2012

Summer is officially here at last, and with summer comes our annual tribute to those 56 daring souls who signed the American Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Because these men risked their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor — and because countless others stood tall for freedom — we have the blessings of liberty we cherish to this day. It is right to celebrate their accomplishment and the heritage that rightfully belongs to every American.

The Fourth of July is on a Wednesday this year so there are many events planned for the early part of the week. Here are a few in our area and one that is a bit of a drive but well worth the time.

Cattle Drive

The annual Sutter Street Cattle Drive in Folsom kicks off the festivities on June 28. It’s one of the last cattle drives in Northern California, and it is a free family event. At 6 p.m., longhorn steers will trot through Folsom’s Historic District. Get there at least an hour early to “stake your claim” to some sidewalk space. And be ready to move if those horns get too close!

Prior to the cattle drive there will be a “Bulls and Brews Urban Iditarod.” After the cattle, cowboys, cowgirls, wagons and the Wells Fargo stagecoach pass through there will be some more western entertainment and family fun. Bring some pocket change to enjoy a chocolaty treat at Snook’s or a gelato at The Black Rooster.

Pro Rodeo

The “big one,” of course, is the 52nd annual Folsom Pro Rodeo on June 29, 30 and July 1. This event originated from Folsom’s ranching days, when an annual horse show was a serious community event. The rodeo events were added in 1960, and a tradition was born.

There is something for everyone at the Folsom Pro Rodeo: riding, roping, rodeo queens and more. As a sanctioned professional rodeo this is a “must attend” event for those wranglers chasing after rodeo glory and a belt buckle the size of a dinner plate. There will be nightly in-arena fireworks at 9:30 p.m. and live music by the Chris Gardner Band in the adjacent Mike’s Golden Spike Saloon. Visit for ticket information and directions.


Fireworks are not legal in El Dorado County but that doesn’t mean that one has to forgo an American tradition.

Cameron Park will host its Summer Spectacular on Saturday, June 30, at Cameron Park Lake. The gates will open at 2 p.m. This event attracts thousands of people every year, and no wonder. There is great food, great exhibits, a carnival, live music and a world-class fireworks display. There is a small fee to attend this event (pre-sale wristbands are $3, at the gate they are $5). A portion of the wristband sales will go to support the Food Bank of El Dorado County. Wristbands can be purchased at the Cameron Park CSD, Walgreens, Cameron Park/Shingle Springs Chamber of Commerce and Caffé Santoro. For more information call (530) 677-2231 or email [email protected].

Town Center in El Dorado Hills will host its third annual Fireworks Jubilee on July 3 from 6 p.m. to midnight. There will be a “Badge to Badge” chili cook-off, live music on three stages (featuring the Spazmatics), a kids’ entertainment area with bounce houses, face painting, music and more. The grand finale will be the Town Center fireworks show.

Unique opportunity

St. John the Baptist Parish in Folsom holds a special Fourth of July Mass in the historical church on Natoma Street every year at 10 a.m. It is a unique opportunity to experience the Catholic Mass in this building, which is the oldest in Folsom and pre-dates the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento by three decades. Seating is limited, so arrive early. After Mass, explore the historical cemetery that surrounds the church.

Patriotism on parade

The largest Fourth of July parade in the region is the annual Pocket Parade. This one is a short drive to Sacramento’s Pocket area, but you will never regret it. This parade is a magnificent patriotic celebration with hundreds of entries and floats. This popular community-produced visual spectacle begins promptly at 10 a.m. at Parkway Oaks Park, next to Lisbon Elementary on South Land Park Drive in Sacramento. The parade will then travel down Windbridge, ending at Garcia Bend Park. Bring lawn chairs, a cooler of drinks and snacks and stake out your share of sidewalk along the parade route. Plan to arrive early, as the good spots fill up fast.

Whether you choose to celebrate at home with a barbecue or to partake of any of these events, take a moment to count the blessings you have in this country. True, it’s not perfect … but the American spirit is always striving to make this world a better place — and isn’t that what freedom is all about?

Send your event for consideration in Susan’s column to [email protected].

Susan Laird


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