By Robin Galvan-Davies, CEO of the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of CommerceFireworks

Beginning in 1902, July 4th parades have alternated between Nevada City and Grass Valley.  This being an even-numbered year, the patriotic parade will be in Nevada City, with the family-oriented post-parade Independence Day celebration beginning at 3:00 p.m. at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley.

This year, advance tickets are 50% off- selling for $10.00 per person- available at either the Grass Valley or Nevada City chamber office, or online on the Grass Valley Chamber website. Same-day admission at the gate will be $20 per person, with youngsters 12 and under free, as well as all military, active or retired, with proper ID.

The 2016 parade, with its catchy “Independence Day the Nevada County Way” theme, is expected to draw eighty or more entrants and attract several thousand spectators.

I was very pleased to learn that the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce had chosen David Painter, manager of the Grass Valley SPD Market, and the SPD Family, to be the parade Grand Marshal.  With SPD stores in both Grass Valley and Nevada City, and members of both of our chambers, he and the SPD Family represent an important link between our two communities.

In case you’re new to this area, the original SPD Market opened in Nevada City on Zion Street in 1959 in an emerging shopping area known today as the Seven Hills Business District. It was a joint venture by three visionary men:  Bert See, who used to own the local Western Auto store; Lawrence Painter, who had a small downtown grocery store; and Joe Dilley, a butcher at Painter’s Market.

The three men decided to call their new business SPD Market –– at that time the largest grocery store in Nevada County.

Then, in 1980, SPD opened its Grass Valley store on McKnight Way and David, son of co-founder Lawrence Painter, settled in as the manager.

David has served on the Nevada City Chamber’s board of directors and was its president in 2011.  In addition, he is a past recipient of the chamber’s Elza Kilroy Award for outstanding community service and served as Mardi Gras Grand Marshal in 2012.

When the Independence Day parade works its way down Broad Street, be sure to join us in giving David a big round of applause.  He has helped to make Grass Valley and Nevada City the envy of other small towns in the state, and has been a longtime booster of local chambers of commerce and other hometown organizations.

The colorful parade begins at 11:00 a.m. sharp so arrive early, bring a lawn chair and well-stocked ice chest, and get a good location along Broad Street.  And in keeping with a decades-long tradition, the popular Nevada County Concert Band will be setting up an hour before the parade and playing music befitting the occasion.  They will also play during the parade.

Once the parade ends there’s plenty to enjoy in downtown Nevada City and Grass Valley, then head to the fairgrounds for a full afternoon and evening of family fun and entertainment –– and a busy, bustling Treat Street.

Throughout the day, live music will keep young and old entertained.  Local impresario Paul Emery has made certain that there will be a first-rate lineup of talent on the Pine Tree Stage and D.J. Bobby G will keep you dancing the day and night away!

As the clock strikes 9:30, the sky will come alive with the spectacular fireworks show provided by Pyro Spectaculars.  Their fireworks extravaganza always provides a booming and memorable exclamation point marking the end of Independence Day.

Working together, our two chambers of commerce –– along with the Grass Valley Downtown Association –– are able to provide one of the largest and most entertaining Independence Day celebrations in the region.  No one goes home disappointed.

This year, July 4 falls on a Monday, making it a three-day weekend for many people.  That means our lodging facilities will be filled, our streets packed with visitors and locals alike, and another Independence Day celebrated as only Grass Valley and Nevada City know how to do it!

What’s important for you to know is that as we plan the annual celebration we do so with an emphasis on retaining three essential elements of American life:  families, communities and patriotism.

This Independence Day will be no exception.

If you have any questions about the parade or post-parade activities at the fairgrounds, call our office at 273-4667, or the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce at 265-2692.

See you on Broad Street in the morning, then later on Treat Street.  And don’t forget to buy your fairground tickets early!