LA PUENTE — More than 17,000 people gathered at La Puente park Thursday to celebrated Independence Day with music, food, and of course, fireworks.
An additional 3,500 or so spectators lined the streets around the park, 501 N. Glendora Avenue, as the sparks began to fly at 9 p.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro said.
Prior to the fireworks show, families picnicked at the park and enjoyed festivities, including games, crafts and live music from the California Army National Guard 40th Infantry Division Band and Cold Duck.
“It went fantastic,” La Puente Mayor Violeta Lewis said. “I had an opportunity to walk the crowd. “I saw a lot of families having a good time and enjoying themselves, and that’s what it’s all about.”
And despite the massive crowd the event drew, the event went remarkably smoothly from a public safety standpoint, Cacheiro said.
“Everyone had a great time,” said Cacheiro, who effectively serves as La Puente’s police chief. “It was an incredible community event.”
There were two misdemeanor arrests during the event, Cacheiro said. One was for being drunk in public, and the other was for outstanding warrants after deputies approached a person who was smoking marijuana in the park.
Officials handled two medical issues, as well as 18 lost children, who were all promptly reunited with their families.
About 50 deputies patrolled the park during the celebration, including some on horseback, assisted by sheriff’s Explorer scouts, West Covina Police, the Los Angeles County Fire Department and American Medical Response, Cacheiro said. Even the FBI helped with the event, providing expertise in large event planning.
“It’s a very well-attended community event,” La Puente City Manager David Carmany said of the annual Independence Day celebration. “It brings out all the families. It’s a point of real pride for La Puente.”
“We tried to do everything we could to make it enjoyable for the community, and I hope we succeeded,” he said.
PHOTO courtesy of the City of La Puente