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PHOTO GALLERY: Moorpark's 3rd of July Fireworks Extravaganza

The annual event drew thousands of families, teenagers, out-of-town guests and revelers who have made it a tradition to celebrate Independence Day a day early.

Since 1996, Moorpark has always celebrated the 4th of July a day early. 

Thousands flocked to the starting at 4 p.m. for some fun, food, family entertainment and fireworks. 

For the pint-sized set, there were bounce houses, games, face painting, climbing walls, carnival games and a Lazer Tag dome.  

The afternoon was also brimming with some homegrown talent beginning with the Mark Cross Band who kicked off the festivities with a variety of original songs.

Raymond Michael as "Elvis" got everyone on their feet as he took centerstage at 7:30 p.m., belting out classic favorites from the King of Rock 'n' Roll. 

"We thought we'd come to Moorpark for a change to get an early 4th of July fix," said Beverly Christian of Newbury Park who came with her family. "So we can just take it easy tomorrow and do nothing since Thursday is a usual work day."

Almost everyone brought their own lawn chairs, canopies or picnic blankets, kicking back on the grass while waiting for the fireworks show. Some brought frisbees, board games and other sports paraphernalia to while the time away.

Jesus Tamayo was there to meet his friends, hang out and wait for the fireworks show to start.

"It's a good way to get together again after school ends and see everyone," said the Moorpark resident, who has rarely missed the 3rd of July event.

Those who opted not to bring their own picnics had a wide variety of traditional barbecue and fair food to choose from: tacos, burritos, tamales, gyros, corn, pizza, shaved ice, cotton candy and funnel cake. 

As the park lights were dimmed at exactly 9 p.m., a hush fell over the crowd.

All that could be heard in the background was Katy Perry's "Firework" until the skies lit up and cheers erupted signaling the start of Moorpark's annual fireworks extravaganza. 

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