Livingston marks Independence Day with lengthy carnival

tmiller@mercedsunstar.comJuly 8, 2013 

— The Fourth of July is a day of hot dogs, patriotic music and fireworks for most places, but this city celebrates the country's independence with a four-day carnival.

The highlight of the event was a grand fireworks show Friday night that organizers estimated drew 6,000 revelers.

Livingston resident Ernesto Zamora said he's been to about 10 of Livingston's Fourth of July celebrations.

"It's getting bigger and bigger," the 47-year-old said. "I'd say, like, every two years there's something different."

Zamora said he was looking forward to reconnecting with high school classmates.

The growing celebration also attracts out-of-towners. Zamora knew of visitors from Bakersfield, San Jose and Modesto.

A number of bands played Friday, and more are slated for the final two days of the event, today and Sunday.

Some children showed their talents through song and dance on the outdoor stage in Memorial Park, and others played below a fire engine ladder where a hose rained down on them.

Police Chief Ruben Chavez walked through the park, shaking hands and greeting youngsters.

"It's a great family event," he said. "This is great for Livingston, and it's great for them to come out and enjoy the festivities."

Chavez said the city has a diverse population, and the carnival and fireworks show is a time for different groups to come together.

He said the event is generally peaceful.

A few dozen vendors sold food, drinks and knickknacks as shoppers perused the merchandise.

Tonya Mora, 39, drove from Atwater with 7-year-old daughter Jenna. It was their first visit to the annual festivities.

The Moras were most excited about the fireworks.

"They did it right," Mora said.

More fun planned

The carnival will run 3 p.m. to midnight today and 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Sunday at Memorial Park and Livingston High, near Park and Main streets.

Livingston's next big event is the Sweet Potato Festival, Sept. 20 to 22.

Reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or by email at tmiller@mercedsunstar.com.

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