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Grand Marchall Clarksburg, CA July 4th Parade. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

America’s Best on Display July 4th, Even in California

Small town California is so much healthier than big city California; the contrasts are stark

By Katy Grimes, July 5, 2022 2:10 am

Living in downtown Sacramento for more than 30 years hasn’t always been a picnic. I frequently write about encounters with homeless vagrants in downtown, as well as in the park near my house. I also chronicle the escalating crime and violence in Sacramento – murders are now a regular event on weekends.

Sacramento had another “mass shooting” early July 4th: “Five people were shot, one of whom was killed, early Monday in downtown Sacramento, police say — the second mass shooting in the city’s core in three months,” the Sacramento Bee reported.

I’ve been looking to neighboring smaller towns for respite, never more necessary than during the two years of COVID lockdowns. There was sanity in the smaller towns, and much less COVID hysteria. My husband and I even found a bar in early 2021 serving food and drinks to unmasked patrons. It was delightful. And it was normal.

One of my favorite places on earth since I was a teen is 15 minutes from my home, on the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta: Clarksburg, CA. We’ve looked at buying property in the area. But remembering that while we may be very handy, self-sufficient and hard working people, neither of us knows how to farm or ranch.

But we still love the region. Monday, July 4, 2022, we joined local Clarksburg friends for the annual July 4th parade. And what a delight it was.

The people in this town and region are the best kind of Americans – mothers and fathers, and people who know what a “woman” is. They have children and grandkids. They own businesses. They are fire fighters. They are police officers. They are shop owners. They are stay-at-home moms. They are vineyard owners. They work at vineyards. They are retired from long careers.

They are America – the best of America.

I took more than 100 photos of baton twirling girls, and marching Boy Scouts, and dads driving cool Corvettes.

And an even cooler dad driving a 1970 Chevelle.

1970 Chevy Chevelle, Clarksburg, CA. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

There were girls leading ponies.

Girls leading ponies, Clarksburg, CA. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

There were locals on horseback. There were kids on bicycles and scooters they had decorated.

Kids on bicycles. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

The Clarksburg Fire Department was out in force, delighting the tiniest of kids with their sirens and horns.

Clarksburg Fire Department. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

It was the best of what America is. Families. Children and babies. Grandparents. Friends. Good friends. New friends.

Babies and children celebrating July 4th. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

The food at Dave’s house was incredible: chicken, hot dogs, sliders, pulled pork, pasta salad, macaroni salad, potato salad.

And Robin’s magic punch… it packed a punch.

The smell of Coppertone sunscreen was in the air along with honeysuckle, and farm animals – and the occasional backfire of a muscle car.

Dave’s dad was in good form, charming the ladies, young and older.

The kids swam in Dave’s pool, and ran all over the backyard grass.

The guys admired Dave’s outdoor urinal… beautifully tiled and with room for two guys standing side-by-side.

After the July 4th festivities and parade, we retired to Craig and Julie’s beautiful winery and sipped delicious wines and wine slushies. The Delta Breeze kept the afternoon cool.

This is the greatness of America. And it is about the people.

July 4th protest, Sacramento Interstate-5. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe.

As we were leaving to drive 15 minutes back to Sacramento, another friend who was returning from an out-of-state trip shared photos of July 4th protesters who closed down Interstate 5. And they were allowed to shut down the freeway. The contrast was stunning.

We had just enjoyed the best America has to offer, and were heading back into some of the worst of America’s cities, run by corrupt politicians who can’t lead, and don’t seem to care about the people.

The contrasts of the best and worst of America are clear, and becoming even more so. It was just so lovely to be around the best of America, and right in my own backyard. I think voters are feeling this contrast as well.



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15 thoughts on “America’s Best on Display July 4th, Even in California

  1. Loved this, Katy. We had our own experience of contrasts at a local small town’s fireworks show, not quite as bucolic and entirely wholesome as Clarksburg, but normal and friendly and family-centered and patriotic and without any reference at all to any eye-rolling divisive politics and culture, which was refreshing. There was a big turnout on the high school football field and it seemed the same as it had been for 20 years, with a band and little kids dancing and running around excitedly, teen girls in pairs were trying to look cool and act like they weren’t checking out or trying to casually run into the teen boys in pairs at the first summer event after the end of the school year. A lot of families and a lot of kids spread out on blankets on the field and adults in the bleachers and everyone was having a wonderful time, fully appreciating the return to the July 4th tradition after two years of shutdown. The only difference from past events was that a few people did still wear masks, and there were many more drones than in the past lined up in the sky to capture the fireworks show. 🙂

    1. That sounds wonderful Showandtell. If only we could do this more often, and preferably, right before Election Day!

      1. Oh, I know, Katy! Maybe think harvest festivals and pumpkin-picking and trick-or-treating kids and families as a close second to this wonderful and reassuring July 4 experience of Americana. Guess we’ll see….

    2. Signs of hope ShowandTell! Thank you for sharing. It is good to know town’s in California are celebrating and returning to gathering in public places for celebration.
      Happy 4th of July

      1. Yes, Cali Girl, it was a tonic. A tonic I needed as of course so many of us do right about now. We came away thinking that July 4th traditions had come roaring back and that it was not fragile; something we weren’t quite sure about after two years of not celebrating this necessary American ritual as a crowd. Usually our surrounding area empties out as people leave to have their holiday elsewhere, so I’m sure some people were “stuck” close to home this year because of high gas prices and high air ticket prices and air travel unreliability, etc., but all the traffic — pedestrian and otherwise — on the streets after all of the small fireworks shows in the surrounding areas last night was actually good to see for once!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your day Katy. It sounds perfect.
    We all need to experience small town festivities. Americana at it’s best. I bet when the sun went down the kids waved sparklers in the air and spelled their name with them.

    To think not too long ago this was the norm in many cities big or small. Now sadly, many towns have forfeited the parades and street parties in part do to the administrative state of permits, processes, crowd control etc.
    The imagery of Clarksburg will be carried with me today. Thank You.
    Happy 4th of July!

  3. Katy, thank you for sharing. The real California still exists; its people are simply too busy working & raising families & trying to survive they don’t have time or inclination to scream into bullhorns or carry signs or attack those who may think or believe or behave differently. Your writing here had me a little choked up:
    “The smell of Coppertone sunscreen was in the air along with honeysuckle, and farm animals – and the occasional backfire of a muscle car.” Had me reminiscing back to a perfect July 4th shared with a friend and our families years ago in Cayucos. Add the scent of salt air & sagebrush, melted (& slightly sandy) frosted circus animal cookies & the smoky char hinting the ribs were ready to pull. Toasting a good friend with a Guinness at Dad Time next to the hibachi out back.
    Having reluctantly left CA I’ve found many other places across our country where the small town spirit of community still survives, and it is strong. Don’t give up hope and thanks again.

  4. This reminds me of the way it USED to be in my old hometown of Woodland Hills, CA – the kids’ parade down Shoup Avenue, the fireworks show at Woodland Hills Park, where my folks used to arrive only an hour or so before the show and still got great seats..>
    Now, there is NO SHOW at Woodland Hills Park, and one needs to show up HOURS earlier to “save a spot” for the overcrowded ant-hill that has been POLITICIZED by a local Councilman and now includes an “Etiquette” section (replete with the C19 propaganda – gotta keep the fear in the forefront of people’s minds, right?) :


    1. Oh, I know, RULES, RULES, RULES. All stupid, all unnecessary. By the time you finish reading THE RULES and trying to keep them all straight, you’re too exhausted and discouraged to go to the darn event. This is all Blumenthal’s doing, isn’t it. Attached at the hip to the more-than-extremely-well-paid and completely non-helpful-and-destructive Fake Dr. Barbara Ferrer and the rest of the commie L.A. City Council and L.A. County Board of Supervisors. Aaahhhhh!! I can only imagine what went on at the L.A. County-run Hollywood Bowl July 4 event. A great historical space, now run by choking rule-makers, and for that very reason we have now for years stayed completely away from the place.

      1. For sure… but that’s what the nanny-state, control-freak Democrat’s like to do…. and why this state feels like a beautiful prison, than the land of opportunity that it felt like as a young person…
        LA County is a complete s-show and I’m grateful that I escaped years ago to Ventura County, where some semblance of sanity still prevails, although the political-waters of LA County are starting to wash-up on our shores….

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