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Independence Day: Pismo Beach prepares for large crowds with return of fireworks show

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Angel Russell
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The City of Pismo Beach is preparing for an influx of tourists as pandemic restrictions ease and the annual fireworks show returns

The Fourth of July fireworks show, returning to Pismo beach this year after it was canceled last year due to COVID restrictions, is expected to bring in thousands of people — and the city is preparing.

The Fourth of July Fireworks Show in Pismo Beach is the largest city-produced event in the area, turning the town of nearly 8,000 into a crowd of up to 100,000.

Police Chief Jeff Smith said it's all hands on deck.

“Everyone knows on the Fourth of July, they will all be working," Smith said. "So our entire department will be here and deployed throughout the city.”

Smith said all 23 of the department's officers will be working, as well as assistance from outside agencies.

The city has advocated to keep it mostly a SLO County crowd as the pandemic continues.  But Jamie Habig, manager of the Cracked Crab restaurant, isn’t so sure of that.

“We are anticipating a tourist crowd, it’ll be interesting to see what happens," Habig said. "But with everything opening up, and people being so excited, since everything seems to be getting better, I think they are going to do so.”

The hotels in the city are at full capacity or nearing it. Mike Frey, owner of the Pismo Beach Hotel on Pomeroy Avenue, said people booked his rooms out far in advance.

“Most of our hotel guests have had their Fourth of July weekend reservations in place for a year,” Frey said.

Chief Smith said the biggest problem the city faces with this large of a crowd is parking and traffic control, but officers will also be keeping a close eye to make sure no one is drinking on the beach and in the streets.

“There are a number of people who will go down to the beach with alcohol," Smith said. "Our officers will talk to them, and issue citations when appropriate.”

The firework show is expected to light up the night sky at 9 p.m. Sunday.

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.