Entertainment · Fresno

In reversal, Shaver Lake receives permit to hold 4th of July celebration

Assuming California does not enact any further COVID-19 restrictions for outdoor events, the Shaver Lake Independence Day celebration has the green light to move forward. 

Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R–Fresno) announced last week that the annual event – which was cancelled last year because of the pandemic – was at risk of being axed because the state had not yet released its guidance for outdoor events after the economy is allowed to fully reopen on June 15. 

Because of the uncertainties post June 15, Shaver Lake owner Southern California Edison had said it was unable to issue the permit to the Shaver Lake Visitors Bureau. 

But that changed Tuesday evening. Patterson announced that the permit has been granted for the July 3 fireworks show, contingent on approval from Fresno County and no further prohibition from the state. 

While the state still has not released new guidance, Tuesday’s announcement is a signal from Southern California Edison that everything should be good to go in the summer. 

As far as an endorsement from the county goes, Visitors Bureau Chairman Dylan Johnson told The Sun that everything is on track. 

“Both Fresno County and the Fresno County Health Department have expressed their support for the event, and really the big caveat being it’s so unique in that it’s such a large outdoor space,” Johnson said. 

“I think that’s where a lot of folks have really had the confidence of the capabilities of funneling this and making it a safe place for people to gather outside.” 

The Visitors Bureau also received a lifeline from Patterson in case things take a turn for the worse and the celebration is cancelled. 

Patterson has offered to reimburse the Visitors Bureau the $12,000 deposit that it had to place for the fireworks in case the event does not take place, giving the small nonprofit the peace of mind to move forward with its plans for Independence Day. 

“Absolutely a massive impact to have them step up and show that kind of support,” Johnson said about Patterson’s offer. “We’re a really small nonprofit organization, and we’re really grass roots. We’ve really raised this money in our community to put this long-standing tradition on. It’s something that’s impacted a lot of families that both live and have a vacation home up here as well as visit up here. 

“It’s what our community gives back to honor summer recreation and honor Independence Day, and it’s become such a great celebration. But we are so small that to risk a deposit being lost for this event could cripple the future of our organization and the event. So it was just something we couldn’t risk. I think when Assemblyman Patterson’s office recognized that, they were willing to be that safety net for us so that we could sign our contracts and move everything forward.”

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.