Fourth of July
What better place is there to spend Independence Day than at The San Diego County Fair? Highlighting the day will be the traditional fireworks display, which will happen at approximately 9:00PM. The fireworks display is visible throughout the Fairgrounds, so as long as you're outside, there's no better place to watch!
We'll start the day with a patriotic Opening Ceremony about 9:30AM at the O'Brien Gate. When the gates open about 10:00AM, there'll be plenty to do. Plan your day with the July 4 schedule.
Hometown Heroes Parade
Hometown Heroes are San Diegans who make a difference in the lives of others. First responders, nurses, teachers, volunteers, etc are all great candidates!100 nominees will be chosen for special recognition including free admission to the Fair for four on July 4, an invitation to participate in the Hometown Heroes parade, and reserved seating in the Grandstand.
Additionally, the evening's festivities will include a special tribute to the victims of 9/11. Joe Torrillo, a former New York Firefighter and 9/11 survivor will speak along with Reggie Cervantes, a first responder to the 9/11 events.
6:45PM Tribute to 9/11
7:00PM Hometown Heroes Parade
7:30PM Navy Band
9:30PM Happy Together Tour
Open til midnight
After the fireworks, those who took the COASTER to the Fair should immediately make their way to the West Gate to catch NCTD buses back to each COASTER station, north and south of Solana Beach.
We invite everyone else to stick around and have some fun! All the shopping and exhibit buildings will be open until midnight, as will the Fun Zone.
Transportation and parking
Take the COASTER: The COASTER train will run on July 4. Take the train to the Fair, and after the fireworks, North County Transit District will have buses to return you to every COASTER station, north and south of the Fairgrounds. See the Public Transportation page for additional information.
Park at one of our free off-site lots and take the free shuttle to the Fairgrounds. We have three free off-site lots:
• MiraCosta College's San Elijo campus (best for those coming south on Interstate 5 from North County)
• Horsepark Equestrian Center (a good choice for those approaching the Fair on Del Dios Highway)
• Torrey Pines High School (best for those coming from the southern part of the county)
See the Parking page for more information.
We have several great contests throughout the day. No pre-registration is required; click the links to find out how to participate! Our special Fourth of July contests are: Homemade BBQ Sauce and Most Patriotic Costume Contest.
Joe Torrillo was a 25 year Lieutenant with the NYC Fire Dept.who is now retired on disability. He spent the first 15 years in Engine Company #10, across the street from the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
While recuperating from a severe injury on New Years Eve of 1996 going in to 1997, Joe was assigned to convalesce in the office of fire safety education. Eight months in to this "light-duty" position, Joe was ultimately named the Director of this public-based program. In his new position, Joe would co-design a children's state-of-the-art fire safety learning center, that opened in October, 2000. This new venue, "The Fire Zone", in the heart of Manhattan, was nominated and won the coveted "THEA" award at the Emmy's.
Shortly thereafter, in January of 2001, Joe worked on a project with Fisher-Price Toys to help design a new children's "action figure " part of their line of " Rescue Heroes " This new action figure, was named" Billy Blazes ", a likeness of a NYC Firefighter who was an addition to their other "Rescue Heroes". In conjunction with the Executives of the Fisher-Price Corp., Joe chose the " Fire Zone " as the location for the press conference to introduce " Billy Blazes ", and then keeping with a safety theme, ironically chose the date of Sept. 11, 2001, because 911 is the emergency phone number in New York City. On the way to the press conference that was set for 9:00AM, Joe was about an eighth of a mile away from the World Trade Center, when American Airlines struck the South Tower at 8:46AM. Fearing for his Firefighter Brothers in Engine Co. 10 and Ladder Co. 10 across the street from the Towers, Joe diverted to the scene to render assistance. Three minutes after donning borrowed "bunker gear" (firefighting clothing) at 9:03AM, the second jet flew over Joe's head and slammed in to the South Tower. With a background in Structural Engineering, Joe made an immediate assessment that everyone above the fire was doomed to death, and the buildings would collapse.
Unfortunately in the rescue operation, Joe was buried alive with a fractured skull, broken ribs, broken arm, crushed spine and heavy internal bleeding. Shortly after being found alive in the rubble, they removed Joe on a long spine board and place him on the deck of a boat on the Hudson River with the expectation of getting him to a hospital. As they were holding his split scalp together, the North Tower then fell on the boat and buried Joe alive and alone in the engine room . About 45 minutes later, Joe was once again rescued from the debris, and taken across the Hudson River, where he awoke in an operating room in Jersey City Trauma Center in the state of New Jersey. Because he was wearing a borrowed set of firefighting clothing with the name Thomas McNamara, Joe was mis-identified by that name, and declared missing for 3 days.
By the time the sun set on the evening of Sept. 11, 2001, Joe miraculously survived the collapse of both Towers with life long injuries. Sadly, " Billy Blazes " would come to represent the other 343 New York City Firefighters who had made the supreme sacrifice of their lives in the rescue effort. Joe now travels the world as a public speaker with a quest to make our Country the "Re-United States of America ", resurrecting patriotism, trumpeting the men and women of the Armed Services, mentoring adolescents, and creating harmony and peace with his fellow Americans.
Leaving + Footprints behind through education, motivational speaking and providing a historical account of one Survivor Rescue Worker's experience on September 11th, 2001 at the World Trade Center.
Reggie Cervantes worked as a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician for 9 yrs and on 9/11 she assisted at the World Trade Center in the Emergency Rescue efforts and survived. Suffering from a number of respiratory problems, as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, due to the time she spent at the site.
In 2002 she moved with her two children to Oklahoma City to receive treatment for their Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and heal.
In 2003, Reggie and her two children wrote and published a children's book entitled My Mommy has PTSD which explains this disorder from a child's perspective.
Ms. Cervantes, was the first Rescue Worker in 2003 to be accepted as a member of the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism Outreach Committee and served until 2008 when the Committee was disbanded.
From 2003 to 2009 received extensive traning from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health on Trauma, Resiliency, Psychological First Aid and Emergency Services.
In 2004, as an advocate of mental health and medical services for those afflicted on 9/11 and their children, she accepted to co-run an on-line international, anonymous, 12-step program for emergency responders, emergency room staff and law enforcement officials.
Reggie Cervantes joined the Oklahoma Medical Reserve in 2005 and assisted with Emergency Services, setting up and treating patients during Katrina, Tornado's, Ice Storms, setting up shelters, providing immunizations at clinics and during Hurricaine Gustav. She remains an active member.
From 2005 to 2007, participated in many training documentaries and studies including traveling to Cuba with filmmaker Michael Moore to receive medical attention and appearing in his Oscar Nominate documentary film, 'SiCKO.'
2002-Present Speaking at Public Schools on 9/11, Community Service in motivational talks.
July 2010 attending and participated in RESPONSE PROTOCOLS IN EMERGENCIES, The Voice of Victims, London.
Sept 2011 Co-Presenter at the Conference on Comprehensive Behavioral Healthcare, Inc., 9/11 : A Decade Later Building Resilience after Disaster and Trauma , New Jersey