Ahwatukee residents can enjoy plenty of Independence Day fireworks next Wednesday – but just not in their community.
For the second consecutive year, Ahwatukee will be without its own Fourth of July fireworks celebration – and it’s unclear whether residents will ever see one in their backyard again.
The Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce pulled the plug on its Red White and Boom! Fireworks show and celebration, saying it no longer could afford it. It had a never-named benefactor who originally had pledged to put up the money for the show, with the Chamber providing volunteers to staff whatever other activities were built around it.
But that sponsor pulled out at the last minute, leaving the Chamber without sufficient time to find a new one.
This year, the Chamber is in even more dire financial straits. Early this year, its board eliminated the position of executive director, sating it could not afford it.
A local promoter, Tim Matykiewicz, had tried last year to organize a small celebration with fireworks at Desert Foothills Park, but he ran out of time before he was able to secure the necessary city permits and other support.
Asked if he was trying to pull it off this year, Matykiewicz replied, “No fireworks event in Ahwatukee for the second summer in a row. Disappointed... We’ll start again early.”
It’s unlikely Ahwatukee will ever see the kind of fireworks extravaganza that thousands of residents enjoyed in 2016, when the Chamber held Red White and Boom! at Pecos Park, complete with a festive carnival.
That’s because the Pecos Park venue relied on a staging area along Pecos Road. That staging area was eliminated last year when construction began on the South Mountain Freeway.
If you’re hoping to get a peak at Rawhide’s fireworks, you’re also in for a disappointment. Its Red White and Rawhide Independence Day bash is not on the calendar for this year.
Still, for residents will to put up with a drive and some parking hassles, there are some fireworks shows not too far away.
Fabulous Phoenix Fourth
Fabulous Phoenix 4th features one of the largest fireworks displays in the Southwest. The non-alcoholic, family-oriented event annually attracts 100,000-plus participants. Included in this year’s event will be two stages featuring local entertainers, a variety of vendors offering festival-style food and beverage, arts and crafts, interactive exhibits and a classic car display. Youth activities, rides and inflatables and a water-spray zone will be part of Kids’ World.
Where: Steele Indian School Park, 300 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix.
Time: 6-10 p.m. with fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
Information: phoenix.gov/parks/special-events/fabphx4 or 602-262-6011.
Fourth of Zooly
The Phoenix Zoo will serve up a classic summer BBQ and top it with a view of the Tempe Town Lake Fireworks Spectacular show at a VIP seating area in the back of the zoo. There will be free carousel rides and free entrance to Stingray Bay along with special animal viewings.
Where: 455 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix.
Time: 7-10 p.m., fireworks at 9 p.m.
Admission: $45 for anyone 13 and over; for kids 3-12, $35; kids 2 and under free.
Information: phoenixzoo.org, 602-273-1341
Chandler 4th of July Celebration
Traditional fireworks show will be preceded by shows by two youth bands, cornhole and other games, a Marine Color Guard, and a Sesame Street step-and-repeat. People are encouraged to bring their own games, as well as soccer balls or baseballs and mitts.
When: 6:30-9:30 p.m., fireworks at 9 p.m.
Where: Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Road, Chandler.
Admission: Free but $5 for parking.
Tempe Town Lake Festival
Tempe lays it all out with games, vendors, a beer garden and numerous attractions for kids and adults.
When: 5:30-10 p.m., fireworks at 9 p.m.
Where: Tempe Beach Park, 620 N. Mill Ave., Tempe.
Admission: Prices vary with general admission $7 to $10, beer garden VIP tickets $30-$60 and that comes with a dinner, drink tickets and special seating in a misted area. Children under 12 and active military free.
Tempe Center for The Arts
Celebrate July 4th in cool comfort at the Tempe Center for the Arts. VIP tickets allow entry into TCA and terrace rooftop for fireworks viewing. General admission allows entry into TCA lobby and ground floor rooms. Food trucks on site will have plenty of delicious food and a cash bar all the beverages to quench your thirst. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
Where: 700 W. Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe.
When: 6-10 p.m.
Admission: $15 general admission, $30 for VIP.
Arizona Celebration of Freedom
Mesa’s celebration downtown has a variety of activities for kids and adults, including a tribute to fallen heroes in battle and patriotic displays.
Where: Mesa Convention Center, 263 N. Center St., Mesa.
When: 6-10 p.m., fireworks at 9 p.m.
Admission: Free, but attendees are encouraged to bring canned goods or bottles of water for the needy.
The town of Gilbert, Central Christian Church and the Higley School District are partnering for this year’s celebration, which will feature fun activities and food trucks.
Where: Higley High School, 4068 E. Pecos Road; Signs will be posted pointing to other viewing areas along Pecos and Recker roads.
When: 6-9 p.m., fireworks at 8:30 p.m.