June 29, 2005 - Although construction forced the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council to relocate this year's Fourth of July festival to Canyon Del Oro High School, 25 W. Calle Concordia, officials say the event's tradition of food, music and fireworks will remain unchanged.
Parking spaces at the former Fourth of July venue, Canyon Del Oro Riverfront Park, 551 W. Lambert Lane, are blocked because the town is building a bridge from Lambert Lane to Pusch View Lane. The bridge is one of several projects that will cause the event's relocation for the next two to three years, Oro Valley spokesman Bob Kovitz said.
Because the construction is blocking the only potential parking spaces near Riverfront Park, the town chose CDO High School as the new temporary venue for its abundance of parking and its visual access to the fireworks.
Parking on campus will cost $5, however, visitors can present their parking receipts at either the Metropolitan Grill, 7892 N. Oracle Road, or Old Pueblo Grille at Foothills Mall, 7401 N. La Cholla Drive, and receive $5 off any regularly priced entrée.
Drivers can enter CDO's three parking lots from Calle Concordia, or they can park at Pusch Ridge Academy, 9500 N. Oracle Road; Canyon del Oro Baptist Church, 9200 N. Oracle Road; Oro Valley Church of the Nazarene, 500 W. Calle Concordia; or Pusch Ridge Baptist Church, 440 W. Calle Concordia.
Hiremath Family Dentistry is sponsoring the free sixth-annual event, which will begin at 5 p.m. July 4. Organizers recommend visitors arrive as early as possible because last year more than 8,000 people attended.
Musical performances, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on the football field, will feature George Hanson directing the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, the Foothills Women's Chorus and the Sons of Orpheus.
The Foothills Women's Chorus is a 57-member group that performs a variety of jazz, folk and Broadway songs. The Sons of Orpheus is a men's chorus that sings music ranging in styles from classical to popular.
The groups will perform a medley of patriotic songs including "America the Beautiful," "Let Freedom Ring" and "This Land is Your Land."
When the fireworks begin at 9 p.m., the audience will hear the orchestra play the Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" while watching the show from the athletic fields facing northeast.
The Tucson Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort, 10000 N. Oracle Road, will provide the fireworks during its annual Fourth of July Extravaganza, which is open to the public and will include games, music, live performances, prizes and food. The activities, which will also include a hole-in-one contest to win a new car, will begin at 6 p.m. The event is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 through 12, and free for children 5 and under. Parking is $5, and no outside food and beverages are allowed.
Before the fireworks show, a number of activities will be available at CDO for both adults and children, including 94.9 MIX FM's patriotic karaoke from 5 to 7 p.m. and an introduction to musical instruments for children from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m.
The Civic Orchestra of Tucson, a 60-piece group that performs free symphonic concerts, will provide the instruments and instructions, letting children get familiar with how to play music.
Students from CDO will sell hot dogs, hamburgers, snow cones, popcorn, iced tea, water, ice-cream and bottled water. The proceeds will go to the CDO booster club and the Oro Valley Rotary Club.
Visitors are invited to bring their own food and set up blankets and lawn chairs.
Although alcohol has never been allowed at the event because of state laws restricting use at public venues such as the park, tobacco is also not allowed this year because of state regulations on high school campuses, said Jim Mack, the program supervisor at the arts council. In addition, officials are asking that all dogs be confined to leashes during the celebration.
The arts council still has a few slots open for volunteers, who will act as parking attendants and collect $5 parking fees.
The event relies heavily on volunteer work, making use of at least 60 people.
For more information about the Hilton's fireworks festival, call 544-5000. For more information about the Oro Valley Independence Day event, call 797-3959.