Drones replace fireworks at Lake View Terrace Independence Day celebration

This year a star-spangled battery-powered light show at Hansen Dam. High-tech replaced pyrotechnics for the first time ever at the  4th of July celebration, which returned to Lake View Terrace after years of pandemic cancellations.

The second gentleman Douglas Emhoff made an appearance although his wife Vice President Kamala Harris was elsewhere. Still, the star of the night was in the sky.

"I think it’s great, said Adam Avalos who came with his parents and siblings. "I like the dolphins." His father smiled in agreement.

"This is the new normal," said Los Angeles City Councilmember Monica Rodriguez who represents the Northeast San Fernando Valley. "We have to shift how we celebrate." Rodriguez was behind the aerial love letter to LA, which included 400 drones forming and simulating dolphins swimming, valley sunrises and old glory. There was also a tribute to Pacoima native Richie Valens, as his hit La Bamba played in the background.

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"I’m proud to pilot this in the northeast San Fernando Valley," Rodriguez said, pointing out that her district has suffered from poor air quality and is fire-prone. She says a drone show just makes environmental sense and adds the lack of loud booms is better for pets and veterans who may suffer from PTSD. "To shift things here is a meaningful statement," Rodriguez said.

The show took months of planning and was put on by Bluemedia. Paul Whitney, the executive producer says the costs rival those for fireworks shows. He adds with global warming and drought more and more cities and events are turning to drones. But he says that’s not the only reason.

"With better animation, better effects," he said, "we give people an experience they haven’t seen before."