Block Party, Rock Party

Citrus Heights, CA (MPG)  |  Story by Jacqueline Fox
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Pablo Cruise is scheduled to be the headliner band for Citrus Height’s 20-year Celebration. -- Photo courtesy City of Citrus Heights

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-- Photo courtesy City of Citrus Heights

The City of Citrus Heights will cap its multi-month celebration of 20 years of cityhood that kicked off in January with a community Block Party set for Saturday, June 3, and the festivities will include 1970s pop-rock band, Pablo Cruise as a musical headliner, as well as an Eagles cover band, classic car show, an army of food trucks, a beer garden, community group performances, a giant kids entertainment zone and more.

The city’s party for itself and the community it serves is a free, family friendly event, and kicks off at 3 p.m. at City Hall with a flag salute and opening ceremony featuring the Citrus Heights Marching Band, singing of the national anthem by the Mesa Verde High School Choir, colors presented by the Citrus Heights Police Honor Guard, and remarks from local and regional elected officials and dignitaries.

Then, on to the party: stretching from the city’s doorstep east to Van Maren Park will be a long line of community nonprofit and civic groups, as well as representation from the city itself offering information to attendees, ways to connect and plenty of giveaways. Food trucks, a classic car show with more than 100 entries, and live entertainment will be located on most of the area leading to and inside Van Maren Park on the main stage, as well as the community stage on Stock Ranch Road.

Attendance is expected to be between 3,000 and 4,000 and the party promises to serve as a memorable marker for Citrus Heights residents and city officials alike who will turn out to celebrate 20 years of independence from the county of Sacramento.

“This is going to be a fantastic night, a terrific way to celebrate two decades of evolution as a city,” said Citrus Heights Mayor Jeff Slowey. “I can’t think of a better way to commemorate our cityhood. I’m sure we’ll see between 3,000 and 4,000 people come out and it’s going to be a great day.”

To mitigate concerns from residents near Van Maren Park about noise, parking and security, Mayor Slowey said no stone has been left unturned, including plans for creating a separate entrance for residents to bypass the main event in order to access their residences.

“We’ve been spreading the word about the party for a while now, letting everyone know what’s going on, and that we are taking extraordinary measures to address any concerns about noise and traffic,” Slowey said. “We understand there will always be concerns about events of this size. It’s a special year and a special event, and we want to make sure it goes off without any hitches.”

Darlene Lynos, president of EzEvents, Inc., and her team are producing the event, which she said promises to be a day to remember, with activities and entertainment for all ages, as well as food from a wide variety of eateries and comprehensive representation of community groups and event sponsors.

“This is just going to be a great family event and community gathering,” said Lynos, who also serves as a volunteer on the city’s homeless assistance program. “We’ve got some terrific talent lined up with Pablo Cruise of course, but we also have a really amazing Eagles cover band, Boys of Summer, who do amazing harmonies. It is unbelievable how good they are.”

San Francisco-based Pablo Cruise rose to fame in the 1970s with chart-topping hits including “Love Will Find a Way,” “Whatcha Gonna Do,” and “I Go to Rio.”

It won’t get any better for kids planning to attend the event, or for parents who want to know they can let their kids party like rock stars in a safe zone while they enjoy the beer garden, or perhaps get down to the sounds of Boys of Summer doing their best rendition of “Take it Easy,” arguably one of the Eagle’s most popular hits.

“The ‘very large’ kids zone will include inflatables, face painting, T-shirt crafting, a rock wall, oversized yard games and lots of space set aside for them to stroll around safely and just enjoy themselves,” Lyons said. All attendees can expect to visit with River Cats Mascot, Dinger, and marvel at roaming stilt walkers and entertainers from local performance groups.

This event marks the 20th anniversary of formal separation from the County of Sacramento, a hard-won battle by cityhood proponents roughly 12-years in the making. Six months prior to the ballot vote for cityhood in 1996, which carried a 62.5 percent majority, one opinion piece in the Press Tribune described Citrus Heights as being “On the Edge of Cityhood.” By November it was clear that incorporation for Citrus Heights was going to be realized, but the legal and political hoops proponents faced along the road to cityhood were varied and wide, and getting the issue to the voters ultimately hinged on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Supporters’ reasons for breaking away were solid: stronger policing, local control and more money for services—obvious benefits, but much needed in order to accommodate the healthy economic growth and a rapidly rising population going on in the 1970s and right up to incorporation. Today, the city of Citrus Heights is home to more than 89,000 residents.

So the 20th birthday bash is not just a party, but an important nod to a historic, hard-won fight for independence. And, in addition to city representatives and elected officials, there will also be representatives from the city’s multiple neighborhood associations, formed to augment the concept of local control.

“Every neighborhood association will be represented at this event,” Lyons said.

There also will be recognitions highlighting all of the winners of the various contests that have been held since January commemorating the 20th anniversary, including the 20 years of cityhood photo contest.

The city is footing the bill for the party, but food and drinks will be available for purchase, with a large bulk of those proceeds going to benefit the Citrus Heights Police Activities League and the American Legion.

Pablo Cruise is scheduled to be the headliner band for Citrus Height’s 20-year Celebration. 
-- Photo courtesy City of Citrus Heights-- Photo courtesy City of Citrus HeightsFood truck, vendors and merchants will have a variety of tempting items 
-- Photo courtesy City of Citrus HeightsCome enjoy the large Kids Zone. 
-- Photo courtesy City of Citrus Heights