By Mark Carlisle
A new Fourth of July fireworks show is coming to Glendale this year. It will be the second major show in the city and the only one on Glendale’s north side.
Dream City Church is moving its annual Fireworks Family Night show from its Phoenix campus to its Glendale campus, near 75th Avenue and Loop 101. One reason the show was relocated was because a BASIS charter school campus is being constructed alongside the Phoenix campus, near Thunderbird and Cave Creek roads, which makes a firework show impossible.
Brendon Zastrow, COO of Dream City Church, said it was also a way for his church, which merged with Community Church of Joy, to create Dream City Church-Glendale in 2016.
“We really want to build community at Glendale. We want to kind of get the community involved,” he said.
Mr. Zastrow said the Glendale show is more than just a fill-in and the church plans to keep the Independence Day show running beyond 2018.
“I would say our plan is to continue doing a community event in Glendale, to be a blessing to the community, but we may also bring it back to Phoenix, depending on logistics. So, we’d have two events,” he said.
The exception, Mr. Zastrow said, would be if very few people turned out to this year’s Fourth of July event, though he does not anticipate that. The annual event in Phoenix has regularly brought out thousands of people in its 30-year history, with as many as 10,000 coming out.
“Hard to say first year but I would guess there’d be thousands of people,” Mr. Zastrow said of the church’s first Glendale fireworks show.
The church’s website describes the show as “one of the largest firework shows in the Valley” and Mr. Zastrow said it lasts 20-25 minutes.
Glendale’s only other major fireworks show is on the other side of town at Westgate Entertainment District, at Glendale Avenue and Loop 101. Glendale used to sponsor a free show in the center of town at Glendale Community College, at 59th and Olive avenues, but the city canceled the show in 2009.
For a few years there was no Fourth of July show in Glendale until Westgate began launching fireworks in 2013. Even with Westgate’s show, the closest option for most residents in the north part of Glendale was at the Peoria Sports Complex at 83rd Avenue and Bell Road.
Now, residents in the north part of town will have another option.
The Dream City Church show will be lighter on the wallet than the Peoria show. Admission to the church event, which includes a showing of “Cars 3” and games for kids, including a bouncy house, is free. Concessions stands will serve food, which will be sold at “cost-effective” prices, Mr. Zastrow said.
“You won’t walk away with empty pockets,” he said.
While kids 12 and under are free for the event at the spring training facility, general admission tickets are $10, with a $15 food add-on option, a $20 beer add-on option or a $40 VIP package. The Ryan Sims Band will perform a concert and the event will include a cornhole tournament, a “kids zone,” a “water zone” and food eating contests. The event starts at 5 p.m. and the fireworks will begin around 9:15 p.m. For more information on the Peoria show, visit goo.gl/hjxWbu.
This year’s Dream City Church event will start at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 4. The firework show, will begin once the sky is dark enough, which Mr. Zastrow expects to be around 8:30-8:45 p.m. The showing of “Cars 3” will begin at 6 p.m. The event will also feature a 3-on-3 basketball tournament for ages 13 and up. Registering a team costs $15 and teams of three must register together.
“Our intent is to have a fun, family-friendly event,” Mr. Zastrow said.
Former GCC show
According to the minutes of a June 2009 Glendale City Council Meeting, during the Council comments, former Councilwoman Yvonne Knaack, after explaining the budget situation that caused the city to cancel the GCC firework show, said that she would miss the show and hoped it would return the next year, in 2010. However, the show has not returned since it was canceled.
Former Mayor Elaine Scruggs mentioned that she had received many “rude and offensive” calls from residents upset about Council’s decision to cancel the show. She continued to explain how she felt the cost of the show was unsustainable.
“She explained that in her view, this would be a gross mismanagement of funds at this particular time,” the meeting’s minutes read. “This event would be shooting fireworks up in the air for 30 minutes at a cost of $50,000.”
The now-gone event featured live music, free swimming at the GCC pool, free games, a kid’s stage and an F-16 flyover, as well as fireworks. The only charge was for food or to reserve an umbrella table for $60. Glendale did not go the route of Peoria’s city-sponsored event and charge general admission for the event.
Westgate’s Fourth of July show runs from 5-9 p.m., and admission is free. Fireworks will start at 9 p.m. In addition to fireworks, the event will feature live music on two stages, superhero characters, and a “cool water zone.” Many of Westgate’s more than 20 restaurants will offer special deals for the holiday. For more information, visit westgateaz.com.