HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By: Taylor Preza
The Fourth of July is on Saturday, but by Friday afternoon, thousands had already gathered along the shoreline of Magic Island with their tents and BBQ grills to claim their viewing spot for the big Fireworks Spectacular show hosted by Ala Moana shopping Center.
Some of those who came a day early to reserve their spaces at the beach park say they showed up as early as 3 a.m. – an hour before the gates opened because parking is always an issue during the 4th of July holiday.
Kalihi resident Hernando Tan shared his strategy for claiming a prized parking space at the big event.
"The trick is around 3 a.m. or 2 a.m., everything is ready to go. You line up outside the Ewa side entrance of Ala Moana ready to go in at 4 a.m.," said Tan.
He said the Ewa side of the beach park is usually less crowded.
Getting into the lot and finding a spot is one thing, but once the park closes and people are required to leave at 10 p.m., coming back again the next day is another task. Some people say they reserve a spot outside the lot so they have easy access into the beach park the next morning as soon as the gates reopen.
"We already have some spot outside also scouted because we got to put our car there at 10 p.m.," said Tan.
Of course this strategy is for those who plan to camp overnight before the show, which is only allowed during the 4th of July holiday. There are other parking options for people who plan to show up just to watch the fireworks.
Spectators may park at Ala Moana Shopping Center for free. The mall also offers complimentary valet parking during regular business hours at the Mall Level 2 outside Banana Republic.
Ala Moana Pacific Center will offer free parking after 1 p.m. on July 4. The structure is located above Shokudo between Kapiolani Blvd. and Kona St.
Parking is also available at the Ala Moana Building located above Bank of Hawaii after 1 p.m. on July 4. The entrance to the building is on Mall Level 2 across from Genki Sushi.
And for those who are not able to score the free parking spots, for $10/vehicle the Hawaii Convention Center will have more than 600 parking stalls open to the public on July 4 from 6 -10 p.m. The parking entrance is off of Kalakaua Avenue.
According to Ala Moana Shopping Center, there will not be a designated spectator zone at the shopping center. Instead, customers are encouraged to watch the annual show from the beach park.
The fireworks show is scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m.