By CBSLA Staff

People gathered outside the Rose Bowl on Fourth Of July, 2021, to watch the fireworks display at AmericaFest. (CBSLA)

PASADENA (CBSLA) – This year marks the 95th AmericaFest celebration, and because of the lack of a fireworks show last year during the pandemic, organizers put on an even bigger show, the largest fireworks display west of the Mississippi.

For many residents, attending AmericaFest is a family tradition. There’s the tailgating, the grilling and waiting outside for the gates at the Rose Bowl to open and join the throngs of people going to see the live performances, the motocross stunt show and, of course, the fireworks.

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Last year’s celebration was entirely virtual and fans of the event expressed with excitement about being back at the Rose Bowl this year.

“It wasn’t the same,” Altadena resident Tamu Tuazo said. “It wasn’t our annual tradition of coming to the Rose Bowl with everybody here and celebrating. It’s fabulous. I’m so happy to be here. Everybody’s out and about and it’s nice to have everybody together.”

Organizers of the evenings events estimate that around 200,000 people enjoyed AmericaFest from outside the Rose Bowl. This is where Charde Shields loves to spend her birthday. Her mom said as a girl Charde used to think this massive Fourth of July celebration was all for her.

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“So, she thought everybody out here was here for her birthday,” Cheryl Lunday, Shields’ mother, said. “So, that’s why it was funny. She was like, ‘They’re all here for me, mommy?'”

It’s a joke the family still laughs about, and it’s all smiles on this post-COVID holiday.

“Since COVID, this is so awesome to see everybody here and party and see the fireworks. That’s what we’re here for,” Shields said.

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