An East Bay 3rd of July celebration ends

Some Bay Area communities got a jump start on Fourth of July celebrations.

Crowds gathered Monday night for a longstanding tradition in Richmond called the 3rd of July fireworks show, held along the waterfront.  

It started about 9:30 p.m. and dazzled the crowd for about 20 minutes. Spectators described it as a beautiful way to spend the holiday with family and friends. Live music entertained the crowd that gathered inside Craneway Pavilion hours before the fireworks show.

"We want to celebrate our family together. It's been a while since we've all been together," said Derrick Dickens of Richmond who attended the festivities with his family.

"My father, my husband's father, they fought in World War II. We've always been very patriotic, so we celebrate that," said Jeri Martinez of Richmond.

This indoor celebration was bittersweet since an event organizer said this one will be the last.

Craneway Pavilion has been leased by a family-owned company to operate pickleball courts which are scheduled to start this fall.

"We just wanted this last night to be one for the community," said Jamie Dooley, an event spokesperson. "We just wanted people to enjoy this building on this very, very special night."  

Many people said they did not know this would be the last time the venue would be available for a pre-fireworks celebration.

"I think that's very sad. This has been an absolute treasure for years," said Kim Szerlip of Richmond who's been attending the festivities for years.

This man was among those who come to enjoy the indoor celebration and set up seats early to grab a prime spot for the fireworks display.  

"I really enjoy it being right here on the water, and I enjoy the Craneway in general," said Jason Griffin from San Pablo.  

Organizers said the fireworks show will continue to take place along the waterfront next July 3rd, even though Craneway Pavilion will no longer be part of the celebration.

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU, Instagram @AmberKTVU or Twitter @AmberKTVU.