Rancho Bernardo 4th of July Celebration

Main Piece

“Every fourth of July, my hometown puts on a parade that goes through the same few streets, where people dress up and decorate their cars with red, white and blue – some local businesses, organizations and sponsors are always part of the parade, along with the mayor, local beauty pageant winners, people like that who someone decides are important to the city for one reason or another. I got to be in it with a few other girls once, before my junior year of high school, because I’d won a local singing contest a month before. People stand along the streets to watch, which I’m sure I did a few times with my family growing up as well.
There are some other events associated with the parade, but the one I remember going to with my family is the fireworks show at night, which has always been held on the field of our local high school for as long as I can remember.”


Informant Interpretation: Informant notes she only feels connected to this tradition because it’s something that occurs in her hometown, and not because of the 4th of July. It’s shared by a small suburb, and thus more identity-defining and important to her.

Personal Interpretation: I found it interesting that many of these traditions seem to be a form of showcasing American “exceptionalism” or something “worth being proud of”–cars (wealth), beauty, those with political power. That feels very in line with the individualist framework America tries to set up for itself, as well as celebrating things that society deems of greater importance. Within this context, it is of course contained to a much smaller suburb, but I still felt those themes coming through in the particular description of events and holiday context.


Informant is a 21 year old college student who was raised in Rancho Bernardo, CA. She is female-presenting, white, and of European descent.