Oakley turned 11 this year, and the party was larger than ever for the July 3 event. According to Cindy Coelho of the Oakley Recreation Division, a crowd of more than 8,000 visited the Freedom High School Basin this year to take part in the festivities. She attributed the large turnout to free admission, the fireworks display – and Antioch’s cancellation of its event this year.
“Particularly in these difficult economic times, we thought it was important to continue the Oakley Cityhood Celebration, where everyone in the community could come out and enjoy a fun evening with rides, games, food and fireworks all in their own hometown,” Coelho said. “It’s an event that a lot of people look forward to, planning their holiday weekend around the activities. This is a true community event. Everyone is in good spirits; people run into neighbors and friends and everyone is excited, anticipating the fireworks show.”
Councilman Bruce Connelley said Oakley makes the Cityhood Celebration a priority every year so that the community has a fun, summer event to attend: “Many kudos should go to the city staff. As usual, ‘Team Oakley’ put on an unbelievable event. Years ago, we set a long-term budget forecast, and going into our new fiscal year with a balanced budget, we were able to keep the patriotic spirit alive in Oakley. It’s amazing with so little tax revenues that we have to draw on that we could still put on this event when so many other cities have cancelled theirs or cut back on them.”
City Manager Bryan Montgomery was also pleased with the city’s ability to put together a family-friendly event for the entire community to enjoy. “The event was a huge success, and we have received many compliments on the event and some suggestions to make it even better for next year,” said Montgomery. “It does seem like every year we see more vendors, more attendees and more positive comments about Oakley now being a ‘real’ community.”
Councilman Kevin Romick said the highlight of the event was the fireworks display, a spectacular way to end the evening – surrounded by neighbors, family and friends all gathered together to enjoy “a little small town magic,” which generated plenty of “ooh”s and “ahh”s from the thousands in attendance.
In addition to the fireworks display, this year’s celebration featured a variety of children’s activities, including a surf machine, Gyro Extreme, a horse derby game, a Jurassic Adventure obstacle course, a rock-climbing wall, laser tag, a petting zoo, pony rides and the ever-popular Euro-Bungy ride, which made a return to the celebration this year after being a huge hit with the kids last year. A variety of food vendors were also on hand to provide snacks and treats.
However, it’s the fireworks display that still has people talking, according to Mayor Pat Anderson: “The celebration was spectacular! Once again, our fireworks were breathtaking. The coordination of music and colorful fire in the sky made the evening magical, and for me, a wondrous time of pride in a city that was created by the will and determination of its citizens and stands as a testament to civic involvement at its finest. Each celebration I find myself wrapped in memories of where we were, where we are, and what we have accomplished.”
To view a video of the festivities, click here