The Fourth of July has come and gone, and once again Santee had one of the best celebrations around the county. This year we not only had music, food, and fireworks, we had sunshine, which much of the county missed out of because of the lingering June Gloom. Even better, the sun was a friendly glow in the sky, not the blazing inferno we often have on the Fourth of July. Add in all the other amenities and it’s no wonder so many people enjoyed the 2010 Santee Salutes July 4th Celebration. In fact, about the only negative about the day was the need for more restrooms. Although the city did bring in portables, there probably should have been more on the main field, where there was frequently a line of a dozen or more waiting for one of the three at each station.
The celebration was also the first opportunity for many Santee residents to see the improvements and new developments at the Town Square Community Park. A little more than a month ago the Town Center Community Park/SportsplexUSA complex celebrated its grand opening, and although the Santee Salutes festivities were taking place on the existing fields to the west, there has been quite a bit of work connecting the two areas. This includes an extension of River Park Drive past Cuyamaca Street to a new parking lot between Rio Seco School and the SportsplexUSA facilities and a walkway from the parking lot to the ball fields. Once all of the work is completed this will be Santee’s largest and most versatile community park.
As usual, there were many activities to choose from during the day. Championship Gymnastics and Cheer put on a demonstration by some of their students in front of the main stage. Several businesses had booths on the main field, including Pina Business Services and Simply Spa, which was offering free chair massages. Alas, Pina Business Services did not offer to massage your books there. On an adjoining field the Santee Mobile Recreation team had set up several games for younger kids and a stage with DJ Chubz and a young drummer who simply wowed the crowd. Fourteen-year-old Christian, who has only been playing for three years, showed that age has nothing to do with talent and ability as he drummed along with music played by the DJ. Also on the game and music field was a much more sobering display – the SUV that had been struck by an intoxicated driver at the intersection of SR-125 and Mission Gorge Road earlier this year.
On a third field were several inflatables, a laser tag area, and some carnival rides. All of these were busy throughout the afternoon. The fourth field was easily the most popular – the food booth field. Here you had a choice among traditional Fourth of July hot dogs from SPARC (Santee Parks and Recreation Committee), chicken satay from Michael’s Grill, smoothies from Smoothie King, desserts from the Eccentric International Chefs, and much more. Still, with all of the variety of food to choose from, the longest line for most of the day was for kettle corn.
Santee always puts its patriotism on display on the Fourth of July. This year’s opening ceremony included a color guard provided by one of the city’s adopted Marine units, HMH-462, the “Heavy Haulers” from MCAS Miramar. On the stage were representatives from both units as well as Mayor Randy Voepel, City Councilmen Brian Jones and John Minto, Miss Santee, Kimberly Swank, and Miss Teen Santee, Taylor Shelton. Singing Solo provided Imagine Truelove, who sang “God Bless America,” and Kelsie Martin, who sang the National Anthem.
Once again music was provided by 80z All Stars, and their alter-ego, Just Push Play. This year lead singer Nigel Naughty, bassist Devo 2.0, and drummer Karate Kid welcomed newcomer and lead guitarist Jamie Star. The change in band member seemed to make no difference to the crowd, who rocked and danced the afternoon and night away.
The night concluded with fireworks that lived up to everything Santee has come to expect. Thanks go out to Waste Management for their sponsorship of the celebration and to community partners Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse, Cannon Pacific, Rice RV, Bay City Electrical, and Bob’s Crane Service.