The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

seabrightFRESH DIRT > Fourth of July, Santa Cruz style

Monday’s Fourth of July celebrations could be heard throughout the streets of Santa Cruz as firecrackers banged and boomed all day. Barbecue, music, and traffic also defined the day as locals and tourists attempted to make their way around town to parties, beaches, or the boardwalk. The Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD), too, remained busy as they responded to calls and maintained order throughout the city.

At Seabright State Beach, thousands of locals and tourists converged to partake in the traditional, unofficial firework show. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department (SCCSD) was on hand to maintain peace and order. Sheriff deputies checked people’s bags for alcohol at the entrance as they made their way closer to the crowd on the beach. By 9 p.m., thousands of amateur pyro-technicians and onlookers had gathered in groups large and small to experience the 360-degree fireworks display. Although the Independence Day celebration at Seabright is a Santa Cruz tradition, it is illegal—and local law enforcement has been cracking down over the last several years.

A police department press release reported 98 total arrests on July 4, most of which were for public intoxication. DUI, battery, parole violations and warrant arrests were also made. Moreover, 75 triple fine and safety enhancement zone violations were reported. The SCPD responded to 1,000 calls over the holiday weekend, an increase from the previous year. Most of the calls for service, however, were for illegal fireworks activity.

The SCCSD reported only four violations in their weekly press release, which covered Monday’s violations in the Seabright neighborhood of Santa Cruz, including one arrest on East Cliff Drive for public intoxication. At the beach, however, the crowd of thousands appeared orderly and willing to comply with the Sheriff’s department as they searched bags for paraphernalia and as they entered and as they were instructed to leave when the beach closed at 10 p.m..

The thousands who made their way to Seabright on foot bypassed the roadblock the Sheriff’s Department erected to control traffic into the neighbor-hood. From young and old to the sober and intoxicated, people watched the fireworks display for approximately two hours before Sheriff’s deputies began announcing the closure of the beach, marking the end of another great Independence Day in Santa Cruz.


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