What are you cooking up for today? Going to a parade, planning a festive BBQ, taking a hike, watching, or avoiding, the fireworks, or simply lying the the sun reading a book?

We know that there are all sorts of Fourth of July celebrations in our city. We’d like you to collaborate with us to capture some of the Independence Day essence in Berkeley.

Here’s some of what you can do:

  1. If you’re tweeting about your Berkeley Fourth, use the hashtag #berkeley4th.
  2. Post to our Facebook page about your Berkeley Fourth.
  3. Upload a video to YouTube and tell us about it in the comments below.
  4. Post photos of your Berkeley Fourth on our Flickr pool, or you can post photos in the comments below, oremail them to us.
  5. Write something about your Berkeley Fourth on your blog and tell us about it.
  6. You can also tell us about your Fourth in the comments below.
  7. Send us photos using the Berkeleyside iPhone app.

We’ll take as many of your tweets, photos and stories as we can and put them together on Tuesday for what we hope will be a truly inclusive picture of the day in Berkeley. The more the merrier.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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  1. Thanks for the snideness.  Why was this necessary?

    But, to answer your questions… I was there starting at 6:30 so everything was pretty clearly lit for most of the time.  And, no, I couldn’t tell if everyone was from Berkeley, but that’s not what I said – I said that Berkeley’s diversity was represented (ie, reflected).  I grew up in Berkeley and I know that isn’t always the case… a lot of times you have some groups (ethnicity, class, etc) under-represented.  E.g., when I go to the Berkeley rep, obviously the attendance skews (based more on class than anything else).

    Part of the reason this made an impact was that I had just gotten back from a 2 week vacation in Scandinavia.  I was really impressed at how peaceful and vibrant the street life was there, and while I was there I wondering how much that had to do with the countries there being relatively monocultural.  So I’ve been really noticing the diversity in Berkeley since returning, and I’ve been reflecting on how unusual it is that so many people from different backgrounds can live together relatively peacefully here.  Yes, we have our challenges, but it’s still made me value my home.

  2. July 4 is a great excuse to have a Block party. There is no need to haggle over the date. Just organize your neighbors, get the permits, block off the street and get out the food & chairs. If you feel like it, organize a bike ride down to see the firework show at the Berkeley Marina.

    Our neighborhood is organized through http://www.rBlock.net/ , which is a Website which allows neighbors to communicate privately with other neighbors on their block (or neighborhood).

    For anyone who is looking for an excuse to have a Block Party, another opportunity is coming up.

    On Tuesday, August 2, the City of Berkeley is encouraging neighborhoods to have a Block Party. This is part of National Night out. Here’s a summary for the flyer:

    NATW’s annual “National Night Out” (NNO) program which is held on the first Tuesday each 
    August, has been extraordinarily successful in promoting involvement in crime and drug prevention activities, strengthening police-community relations, and encouraging neighborhood 
    camaraderie as part of the fight for safer streets. Since 1984, “National Night Out—America’s 
    Night Out Against Crime” has grown to involve over 34 million people from more than 10,000 

    If you register, you might get a friendly visit from the Fire Department (A big fire truck for the kids), City Officials (Linda Maio comes by our neighborhood most years).Even if you just know a few households in your neighborhood, this is a good excuse to hang out and communicate with one another. While you’re at it, talk about organizing your neighborhood into a neighborhood group. Please read the information on National Night Out here:http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=71394

  3. A Berkeley Fourth of July weekend, 2011

    By Ellie Shapiro


    What a great Berkeley
    idea – to encourage people to share their 4th of July experiences. Mine
    begins Sunday July 3rd, as the car slides right into a space at
    Berkeley Bowl’s Shattuck store parking lot around noon. The discount fruit and
    vegetable stand is full and I swoop up a few 99 cent plastic bags of potatoes and
    onions, perfect for the potato salad I’m supposed to bring to the second of two
    back-to-back barbeques. I also pick up organic carrots, strawberries, corn and
    Pink Lady apples, French goat feta, a green pepper, Dijon mustard, and mayonnaise and other
    sundries.  No lines at the check out. Coming
    down an empty MLK towards home on this holiday weekend afternoon, Berkeley takes on the
    feel of the smaller town it used to be.


    I put a pot on to boil and start peeling potatoes to the
    sound of KPFA’s Sunday music program,  Panhandle
    Country  When I remember that potatoes need
    go in when the water is still cold I throw the hot water down to drain, with a
    twinge of Berkeley guilt at the waste. To the potatoes I add carrots, green
    pepper, red onion with mustard aioli, balsamic vinegar, and mayonnaise. Emanating
    a glow of lemon yellow and carrot orange, the salad goes into the fridge, and I
    head to barbeque number one. These Berkeley
    friends make their own cabarnet wine and vinegar in a ceramic vat and oak barrel
    stored in the kitchen and on the porch. Chickens, a rabbit, three cats and a small
    garden lush with fruits, vegetables and herbs round out this cornucopia. Jim
    tells me about the process of wine and vinegar making, and about a store on San Pablo where I can get
    “mother” culture for starting the vinegar and rennet for making cheese.


    The homemade wine goes well with their own Alameda County
    Fair prize-winning tarragon potato salad, local Magnani sausages, tomatoes and
    mozzarella, green salads and candied almonds. It’s hard not to fill up, but
    party number two is still ahead. There, my potato salad is a hit and the day
    ends around a backyard campfire and apple pie. 
    Yes, apple pie.


    Monday, 4th
    of July

    It’s a day to do long put-off chores and I go through the closet,
    letting go of jeans that no longer fit, and dresses and t-shirts that take me
    back to younger times. Outside is another stellar day though and cabin fever hits
    by 4:00. I call a friend and we head for Inspiration Point in Tilden Park.
    After decades of an occasional stroll at the Point, for the first time I notice
    Curran Trail to the left of the paved path. A
    sun-dappled twenty minute jaunt down to Wildcat Gorge, through the woods, then over
    the hill; we come out at Lake Anza, Berkeley’s
    crowning jewel. We take in the scene — sparks of light playing on the water, ducks’
    rears flipping up and down as they dunk for food, and a black Labrador
    joyously jumping in the water over and over to catch a Frisbee. On the other
    side of the lake, kids are yelling, running, squealing and splashing in the roped
    area, while the adults are spread out on the sand, and others are swimming laps.
    A group of tattooed twenty-somethings are sunning on a boulder opposite and
    taking short dips until a megaphoned warning stops the out-of-bounds action. In
    the surrounding woods, on the sandy beach, and the wide grass field in the
    adjoining park, hundreds of plastic tablecloths are laid out and the smell of
    cooked meat is in the air. All ages and races are eating and talking, playing
    cards, kicking soccer balls, tossing baseballs, throwing Frisbees, sunbathing,
    and just soaking up another Berkeley celebration
    of Independence.






  4. Made a cherry & apricot crumble (Greens recipe), then went to our friends’ annual 4th of July barbecue – mellow, good food & drink, interesting discussions.  Came home and watched two episodes of Treme.  That’s what I call a great Fourth of July. 

  5. Flag burning is protected speech under the US Constitution. Are you suggesting that the Vietnam veterans in the anti-war movement were petulant radicals when they were burning flags in protest?

    Clearly you should have followed JudgeBork’s suggestion and not comment for a while.

  6. “… few illicit fireworks.” with the grandchildren with adults sipping “gin and tonic” …. sounds like a very responsible and patriotic Sunday night…

  7. You could see all the diversity in the dark and you could tell they are all from Berkeley? You must be some super genius creature!

  8. I went down to the Berkeley marina last night for the fireworks show, and I was really pleased and impressed.  All of Berkeley seemed to be represented in some fashion there – lots of diversity in age, ethnicity, class – and everyone was peaceful and a good mood.  Thanks Berkeley!

  9. Two wonderful events..a neighborhood potluck lunch with old friends from the last thirty years and now some grandchildren and then a private backyard barbeque with gin and tonic in the fading sun, Paul Thorn on the CD and a few illicit fireworks.  I always make two cakes decorated as American flags..one for the friends and one for my spouse and me.  Perfect.  Lucky us.

  10. Thank you for your little uplifting and edifying Holiday sermon.  Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel?  When I read comments like this, I sometimes wonder if Berkeley isn’t the last refuge of the scoundrel…
    If the United States and the Soviet Union had NOT used their military power to fight the “Great Patriotic War” to defeat Nazi Germany, how likely is it that you (or I) would be here today penning this rubbish on a comment board?
    But this still begs the question of how you are spending the 4th?  Burning the American flag perhaps as a token of petulant “radicalism”?  You write on one of your website profiles that you are “from an immigrant family.”  Do you regret settling in the United States?  Are you considering relocating?  If so, keep us posted on your plans.
    p.s.  My apologies for the incivility in this response.

  11. This summarizes everything perfectly:  http://progressive.org/media_mpzinn070106

    “Is not nationalism — that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary
    so fierce it engenders mass murder — one of the great evils of our
    time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?

    These ways of thinking — cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from
    childhood on — have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those
    out of power.

    National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking
    both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway,
    Costa Rica and many more). But in a nation like ours — huge, possessing
    thousands of weapons of mass destruction — what might have been
    harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and
    to ourselves.”

  12. We host our annual block party on July 4th. Close off the street, get out the umbrellas and shade structures, rent a bouncy house, fire up the grills and hang out with the neighbors.

    It’s a great excuse for a neighborhood party.