Smoke on the water: Fireworks illuminate Shaver Lake in Independence Day celebration

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Thousands of people packed Shaver Lake parking areas, picnic grounds, beaches, and roadsides on Saturday to watch a nighttime fireworks show over the mountain lake in an early Independence Day celebration.

The pyrotechnics were launched from the lake’s Honeymoon Island starting about 9 p.m., but many families arrived hours earlier to sniff out places along the shoreline. Families on the beach set up canopies for picnics and barbecues, and a cacophony of music – pop, country, and Latin – blared from speakers along the way.

A parade of boats decorated in red, white, and blue made their way from the Sierra Marina and cruised along the shoreline, drawing cheers from those on the shore.

Signs warned visitors not to park along roads in private developments branching off from Highway 168. But that didn’t stop people from parking bumper-to-bumper along the highway, either as a jumping-off point for a hike to the shoreline or to view the aerial fireworks from their vehicles.

California Highway Patrol officers and Fresno County sheriff’s deputies were out in force to keep traffic in order during and after the show as the crowd packed up to return to the Valley floor. The acrid smell of burning brakes hung in the air along the “four-lane” stretch of Highway 168, apparently generated by drivers unaccustomed to nighttime mountain driving.

The fireworks show and celebration were organized by the Greater Shaver Lake Visitors Bureau.

Thousands gathered along the shoreline for the 2022 Shaver Lake fireworks show Saturday, July 2, 2022 at Shaver Lake.
Thousands gathered along the shoreline for the 2022 Shaver Lake fireworks show Saturday, July 2, 2022 at Shaver Lake.
Families gather for barbecues, awaiting the 2022 Shaver Lake fireworks show Saturday, July 2, 2022 at Shaver Lake.
Families gather for barbecues, awaiting the 2022 Shaver Lake fireworks show Saturday, July 2, 2022 at Shaver Lake.
Families gather along the shoreline for the 2022 Shaver Lake fireworks show Saturday, July 2, 2022 at Shaver Lake. A boat parade started at 6pm and the fireworks which began at dark were visible along the shore for thousands who came to celebrate.
Families gather along the shoreline for the 2022 Shaver Lake fireworks show Saturday, July 2, 2022 at Shaver Lake. A boat parade started at 6pm and the fireworks which began at dark were visible along the shore for thousands who came to celebrate.
Families gather, some taking advantage of naturally higher vantage points for the 2022 Shaver Lake fireworks show Saturday, July 2, 2022 at Shaver Lake.
Families gather, some taking advantage of naturally higher vantage points for the 2022 Shaver Lake fireworks show Saturday, July 2, 2022 at Shaver Lake.
A cyclist and families watch from the shoreline at the 2022 Shaver Lake fireworks show Saturday, July 2, 2022 at Shaver Lake. A boat parade started at 6pm and the fireworks which began at dark were visible along the shore for thousands who came to celebrate.
A cyclist and families watch from the shoreline at the 2022 Shaver Lake fireworks show Saturday, July 2, 2022 at Shaver Lake. A boat parade started at 6pm and the fireworks which began at dark were visible along the shore for thousands who came to celebrate.