As the South Valley gears up to party hearty for America’s 236th birthday bash, you’ll find plenty of activities in the region for the Independence Day celebration. We at MHAT-19 (Morgan Hill Access TV, cable channel 19) wish you a joyful holiday as you spend time with friends and family members celebrating the history and culture of our nation and the incredible freedoms we enjoy.
The centerpiece of Morgan Hill freedom-focused events is the downtown Morgan Hill Fourth of July Parade, considered one of the top parades in the nation for its patriotic flair and community involvement. Pre-parade entertainment starts at 9 a.m. and the parade kicks off at 10 a.m. and goes until noon.
MHAT-19 will broadcast live coverage of the parade that you can watch on cable channel 19 in Morgan Hill or streaming live on our website at www.mhat.tv. And if you miss the parade or are a participant and want to see yourself on TV, we’ll play the videorecorded parade the following weekend.
Morgan Hill’s Independence Parade goes back to 1876 and, according to organizers, has never missed a year since it started. The “official Santa Clara County Independence Day Parade,” it draws more than 50,000 spectators to watch more than 2,500 people participating in the various units such as patriotic-themed floats, marching bands and special entries. It is considered the best hometown Fourth of July parade in Northern California by an organization that ranks parades.
But there’s more to our American celebration than just a Fourth of July parade. Saturday, June 30 marks the third year of the Freedom Fest Bike Classic, a cycling event for families and biking enthusiasts that starts at the trailhead of the Coyote Creek Trail on the northeast side of Morgan Hill. The event has expanded into a full 100-kilometer bicycle tour that wanders winding roads through the rural areas in Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy. For cyclists who don’t want such a daunting challenge, there are also 6-, 13- and 30-mile options. Volunteers with MHAT-19 plan to video portions of this event for broadcast.
On July 3, Morgan Hill will hold its beloved “Patriotic Sing” at the Britton Middle School gym starting at 6 p.m. This is the 23rd year the children’s patriotic songfest has been held. The performance is free and includes a tribute to the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces. In the past, MHAT-19 has videorecorded this event, and we plan to do so again this year.
The evening of July 3 will also include a Family Music Fest held at the amphitheater of the Morgan Hill Community Center in the downtown district. Dance music will be supplied by The Usual Suspects. Food, wine, beer and other beverages will be available.
On July 4 morning, Morgan Hill will hold its annual Freedom Run, a 5-kilometer course starting at P.A. Walsh School that follows much of the path of the Independence Day parade route. For children, there is a one-mile run. Participants are encouraged to run in patriotic-themed costumes. Registration starts at 6:30 a.m. and the run starts at 7:45 a.m.
Following the run at 9:30 a.m. the sixth annual Liberty Car Cruise and Show starts. Classic vintage cars will follow the parade route. Following that, visitors can check out the cars at the Community Center.
The Fourth of July ends with a bang with the annual fireworks extravaganza at Morgan Hill Community Park. This is the only free fireworks show in the San Francisco Bay Area. Money to operate it comes entirely from donations and fundraising events held throughout the year. More than 20,000 people crowd the public park starting at 6 p.m. to enjoy entertainment before the fireworks light up the sky at dusk.
Wherever you might reside in the South Valley, we at MHAT-19 hope you enjoy the many upcoming events put on by local volunteers to celebrate America. For more information on Morgan Hill Freedom Fest events, please visit www.mhfreedomfest.com.