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VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The most exciting day of the summer is right around the corner -- the 4th of July -- the day we celebrate the birth of our great nation. We celebrate with friends and family with cookouts, concerts, and of course, fireworks. This week we will look at a few events happening prior to Independence Day and then look at the opportunities to celebrate the 4th of July on the central coast.

The Lompoc Flower Festival is this weekend, including many events at Ryon Park and in downtown Lompoc and the Flower Festival parade, which starts at H Street and Pine at 10 a.m. Saturday. We had full information in last week's Central Coast Happenings, but you can check out the Flower Festival website at  or call 805-735-8511 for more information.

I don't highlight many winery concerts, but an exciting event Friday, June 27 bears mentioning. Presqu'ile Winery, 5391 Presquile Dr., Santa Maria, will feature "The Molly Ringwald Project" in a performance at 5 p.m. TMRP is known for their covers of 1980s favorites and features Lt. Col. Dan Gillen on Keyboards. Lt. Col. Gillen has been a popular member of Team Vandenberg and is considered the main ingredient to TMRP's success. For complete information and reservations, please call Presqu'ile Winery at 805-937-8110, Ext. 103.

Several events in our area will help you celebrate the 4th of July with family, friends, food, music and fireworks.

The Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee will host the 4th annual "Old Fashioned Fourth of July" at 11:45 a.m. in Centennial Park at the corner of H Street and Cyprus Ave. This free event will feature a bicycle parade for all ages from the Lompoc Veterans Memorial Building to Centennial Park. Upon arrival at the park, opening ceremonies will honor our nation and then the Lompoc Pops Brass Quintet will provide patriotic music and feature city leadership and business leaders. Hotdogs and sodas will be available from the Sons of the American Legion. Games and a bounce house will be available for kids at the Lompoc Museum. This event is free. For more information, please call the Chamber of Commerce at 805-736-4567.

Later the same day, the City of Lompoc will present the annual "4th of July Spectacular" at Huyck Stadium, Lompoc High School, 515 W. College Ave. Gates will open at 5 p.m. with activities and entertainment from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Advance tickets are $4 for adults, $2 and are available at the Anderson Recreation Center, 125 W Walnut Ave. Plan ahead, because ticket prices go up to $7 at the gate. For more information, call 805-875-8100.

Santa Maria Fairpark will host the "Santa Maria 4th of July Community Fireworks Show and Concert." Gates of the Fairpark, 937 S. Thornburg Street, Santa Maria, open at 3 p.m. and the concert by Santa Maria's own "Unfinished Business" starts at 5:30 p.m.  The fireworks show, Santa Maria's largest, begins at 9 p.m. The event is free and California Hot Dog Company will have a variety of hot dogs for sale. There will also be sno-cones, chips sodas and cotton candy available, as well as beer and wine.

Another great event is the "Pismo Beach July 4th Fireworks Celebration" which starts at 10 a.m. with food, music and fun throughout the day. This event, on Pismo Beach, is attended by nearly 10,000 each year, so get there early and stake your claim to valuable beach space. The event is free, however VIP seating on the pier is available for $25. The fireworks show starts at 9 p.m. For complete information, please visit

If you decide to stay home and do your own fireworks please follow all local laws and use only fireworks approved for your area, in California this means "safe and sane" fireworks that do not fly or explode. Both Lompoc and Santa Maria permit "safe and sane" fireworks. No fireworks are permitted at Vandenberg AFB. Be safe and have fun. Check back here next week for more Central Coast Happenings!