Annual ‘Santee Salutes’ giant block party set for July 4

Santee residents flocked to Town Center Community Park in 2017 for “Santee Salutes.” The annual event that starts at 2:30 p.m. and ends with a 9 p.m. fireworks show will be held again, Wednesday, July 4.
(Karen Pearlman/San Diego Union-Tribune)

If it’s July 4, it’s time for “Santee Salutes,” the city’s all-day block party with food, music and, of course, fireworks.

The city estimates that about 30,000 people converge every year at Town Center Community Park for the festival that also includes a kids’ fun zone with carnival rides and games. Nominal fees will be charged for the rides and games.

The event will be from 2:30 until 10 p.m. at the park located at 550 Park Center Drive, with fireworks scheduled to go off at 9 p.m.

80z All Stars, a 1980s music tribute band, will perform during almost the entire Santee Salutes. A patriotic ceremony with local public officials and the Color Guard from Santee’s adopted unit, the U.S. Marine Corps Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462, will be held at 6 p.m.

There will be a $5 charge for parking in the lot next to the park but free parking will be available with shuttle service at the Costco parking lot down the street. A pickup spot with free parking and a shuttle will also be offered along Cuyamaca Street near Rio Seco School. The city said that the shuttle service will be available continuously from 3:30 to 11 p.m.

“What makes Santee Salutes such a great event is, regardless of where you’re from — Santee or otherwise — people flock to us for the hometown atmosphere,” Santee Mayor John Minto said.

Minto said his favorite part of the event is when the lights go out and the fireworks start to explode in the air.

“I look out and see the mesmerized look on the faces of the people,” Minto said. ‘It makes me feel like we’ve done something good for our community.”