SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - The fog wasn't enough to chase crowds away from San Franciso on 4th of July Thursday night.
The show above San Francisco's northern waterfront is the Bay Area's largest official display and an annual tradition.
Many braved cool temperatures and came hours early to get a prime viewing spot for the show.
"I was hoping for better weather, but it's still kind of neat that people are roughing the coldness out," said spectator, Christine Watras.
Many said they came to celebrate the fourth because the holiday means a love of the country, freedom and grattitude. Also, a time for reflection.
"It's Amercia's birthday. I'm an American. I think it's neat to have pride in your own country and celebrate it," Watras said.
A circle of family and friends on the waterfront includes a fifth grade teacher who's also a father of five young children. They see the holiday as a teachable moment.
"It's people. It's openess. It's acceptance, community," said Vincent Eisman.
"We go back all the way to the founding of our country and the liberties that we have and how our founding fathers fought for us to be able to live and act as we see fit," said Joey Prather of Oakdale.
Live entertainment served as a prelude to the fireworks shows. It was a celebration joined by people visiting from other countries, including a group of friends from Ireland, here in the United States on work visas.
They said America has culture and a relaxed vibe that's unique.
"Everything's bigger in America. At least that's what everyone says. And it really lives up to all the expectations," said Jason Wong, a visitor from Dublin, Ireland.
The fireworks display lasted 25 minutes.
"Just look at this environment. It's absolutely gorgeous. And when the fog is too low and you can't see the fireworks, you get all the ships at Hyde Street backlit by the Pier 39 fireworks," said Vincent Eisman of Oakdale.
Many knew that fog is always a factor, but say it's still a celebration worth attending.