VISALIA – Fireworks may be fleeting, but the childhood memories of watching with wonder are often fixed in our minds. It is positive experiences like these that CASA of Tulare County hopes to provide for children taken from their homes due to abuse or neglect.
This Fourth of July, CASA of Tulare County will hold its second annual Independence Day Community Festival and Fireworks Spectacular at Groppetti Stadium in Visalia. This free community event will feature lots of Fourth of July themed fun and activities for a fantastic cause, concluding with the Fireworks Spectacular fireworks show conducted by Pyro Spectaculars by Souza.
“We’re looking forward to hosting an Independence Day celebration for all ages – it fits with the mission of CASA — kids and family,” said Paul Moore, Executive Director of CASA of Tulare County. “It’s events like these that build community and memories. A fireworks show is the spark that ignites a sense of wonder in children and a sense of community pride in their parents.”
CASA of Tulare County, a nonprofit organization that advocates for children in foster care who have experienced abuse or neglect, believes that all children deserve the chance to grow up happy and healthy. When a child enters the foster care system because his or her home is no longer safe, a judge may appoint a committed volunteer to help them. That volunteer is called a Court Appointed Special Advocate or CASA. CASA of Tulare County trains and supports volunteers to represent and advocate for a child’s best interest. CASA volunteers serve as the “eyes and ears” for the judge in child welfare cases. This includes researching each child’s situation and making objective recommendations to help them reclaim their childhoods from abuse and neglect. CASA volunteers are frequently the only stable presence in these children’s lives as they navigate the foster care system.
The July 4 festivities kick-off at 2 p.m., with music, swimming pool access, water slides, and a dunk tank. Other activities include a raffle and a hot dog eating contest. Food and beverages will be for sale from local food trucks, including Gaby’s Hot Dogs, Riba’s Kitchen, Big Kahuna Hawaiian Shave Ice Visalia and Kettle Queen kettle corn. The Fireworks Spectacular show will begin at approximately 8:30 p.m. Spectators can anticipate the skies over northeast Visalia to burst with color and great booms to be seen and heard from miles around.
The show will be conducted by Pyro Spectaculars, a producer and presenter of pyrotechnic displays who traces its beginnings back to more than 90 years ago. Manuel de Souza, known as “Papagaio,” was a pioneer of animated pyrotechnic displays set to music. In the early 1900s, Papagaio brought his fireworks business from the Azores to the San Francisco Bay area. Pyro Spectaculars by Souza carries on the tradition and is now the largest fireworks company on the West Coast and one of the largest in the United States, producing shows for Disneyland and Disney World, the Macy’s 4th of July Spectacular, and the 100th and 125th Anniversaries of the Statue of Liberty, among others.
Produced by CASA of Tulare County, the Independence Day Fireworks Community Festival and Fireworks Spectacular is made possible by the contributions of generous sponsors, including the City of Visalia, Party City, the Provident/Salierno Family Foundation, American Ambulance, KRC Safety and First 5 Tulare County.
Warren Gubler, Mayor of the City of Visalia, said “Last year my family and I attended this community event and had a “blast”! We look forward to attending again this year and appreciate CASA for the terrific job they do in sponsoring our city’s Fourth of July celebration. I encourage everyone to attend and join in the fun and patriotism.”
Admission is free and parking is $10 per vehicle. Proceeds from the $10 parking fee will help CASA of Tulare County recruit, train and support CASA volunteers and provide the professional staff and resources needed to advocate powerfully for the most vulnerable children in our community. Picnicking is permitted, but no barbecuing, tailgating, glass containers, tent canopies or personal fireworks will be allowed. Please note that the St. John’s River Trail will be closed on Wednesday, July 4, from Lovers Lane to McAuliff Street due to fireworks preparation. Call CASA of Tulare County at (559) 625-4007 for more information about the event or visit www.casatulareco.org.