After days of "June Gloom" marine-layer clouds and fog, Mother Nature provided a clear and vivid Independence Day afternoon and evening. The crisply cool night sky was illuminated by incandescent fireworks over the sea at Shamel Park.
Nature’s encore the next night was a flamboyantly radiant sunset.
Some people said on social media that this year’s professional July 4th fireworks display was Cambria’s best in years. Apparently, there also were a couple of drones in the sky during the fireworks.
People had headed for the park early in the day. Before noon, parked cars were already lining Windsor Boulevard all the way to the Highway 1 bridge and beyond — and way up some of Park Hill’s steep residential streets.
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The fireworks capped a traditionally busy afternoon at the packed-full park, with kids’ games, restaurant servers in a don’t-spill-the-filled-glass-on-the-tray relay race, competitors diving headfirst into a pie-eating contest and lots of energetic folks dancing the night away to the music of popular local entertainers, such as Bob Benjamin, Brett and Julia Mitchell, Michael Shimberg, Michael Timothy McCabe and Phil Hauser, and the bands Stellar and Rough House.
Competition servers from Sow’s Ear Restaurant dashed to their first-ever first-place win in the waiter-waitress race. Restaurant owner Tony Gutierrez said his team included Alex Bautista, Gutierrez’s brother-in-law Salvadore Garcia and his sons Eduardo Garcia and Diego Garcia.
Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill’s team took second-place honors and the runners from San Simeon Beach Bar & Grill came in third.
Winner’s in Linn’s 9th annual pie-eating contest, and the weights of the pies they consumed, were:
▪ Men (4-pound pie!): First, Fred Adam; second, Brian Bernard; and third, Kirk MacConell.
▪ Women (28-ounce pie): First, Marilu Rosas Steen; second, Miranda Hill; and third, Heather Ramos, 2:47.
▪ Kids 12-15 (19-ounce pie): First, Riley Jones; second, Malina Weerty; and third, Rand Clapkin, 1:49.
▪ Kids 8-11 (8-ounce pie): First, David Figueroa; second, Abbey Jones; and third, Molly McKeighan.
▪ Kids Under 8 (8-ounce pie): First, Sam Stoddord; second, Sahara Hill; and third, Mason Suorey.
On July 5, in a nod to Cambria’s “I Squibbed” tradition, a contingent of clean-up helpers pitched in to tidy up the park and other areas impacted by the crowds.
The back story: For many years, when historian/teachers Paul and Louise Squibb lived in what is now Squibb House Bed and Breakfast on Burton Drive, they did a daily cleanup along Burton Drive. In the 1980s, the Cambria Chamber of Commerce revived the July 4th fireworks event, and designated the morning of July 5th as a “Squibbing Day Cleanup” event.