Over the years, we have spent two Fourth of July holidays in Big Bear City. They were both memorable for different reasons.
The first time we were staying at Lagonita Lodge (see my other entry in this journal) and our unit's location was superb overlooking the lake. After a fun old-fashioned picnic and entertainment the evening settled in with everyone oohing and aahhing at the fireworks display over the lake. It was one of those moments in time that you always remember. Laughing with a large group of people you've never met before seems to bond you together.
The second time we were there for the Fourth was to observe the downtown parade, carnival and happenings for the holiday. It really was homey with everyone sitting on the curbs or in or on their cars to watch the parade. The shear delight at being able to drive to a side street just minutes before the parade started and finding a parking place was unbelievable. We got a great place to stand/sit in the shade and weren't elbow to elbow with others observers. It was quite unusual.
The town throws a mean party with various competitions happening through out the day. Pie eating contests, watermelon spitting contests, etc. The carnival held on open land down by the lake was a bit disappointing with limited activities for anyone over the age of five. The parade was not very long or impressive, but it was definately small town America where people watching were conversing with their friends and neighbors marching in the parade. At night as the kids attend the downtown theater, the parents can stroll from store to store taking in all the tourist and not so touristy sites. I felt like we were back in a small town in the midwest.
Both of our experiences in Big Bear City for the Fourth of July leaving ready to go back for another try. Somehow it just wasn't as jaded as big city life seems. The small simple pleasures seemed enough for all to enjoy themselves.