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Cityhood Fireworks

Cityhood (Oakley, CA)


Oakley City-hood Celebration!

If you were to drive by Freedom Basin Park on the first Saturday in July, you would see them starting to pop up. Shade tents. Blue, and red, and white nylon fabric stretched over shiny aluminum frames; a signal that a festival of some sort is about to begin. For twenty years now, Oakley has been hosting a celebration on this date. The celebration is to remember the date that Oakley first became a city, which happened on July 1st, 1999. Since that date doesn’t always fall on a weekend, the city leadership chose to celebrate the event on the first Saturday every year. What started as a fairly small gathering – only a few hundred people, so I was told – has now become a significant and well attended event!

My first introduction to this celebration came over ten years ago, shortly after I moved into my home. The sound of fireworks drew me out to my front yard to investigate. To my surprise, it wasn’t just some kids with bottle rockets, like I had thought, but instead a full-blown, professional fireworks display. And the best part was, I could see from just outside my front door!

How a Town Becomes a City

That next morning, I started to do a little research, and what I found out intrigued me. I had no idea that when I had moved into Oakley, they hadn’t always been a city. I always thought that, once a location was listed on a map, and they had their own post office, that this was what constituted a location being a city. I was wrong.

For a city to become a ‘city’, at least in the eyes of the State of California, there are a few things that need to happen. First, a consensus has to happen among the residents of the unincorporated area. That usually happens through a ballot measure during a general election, and if successful, the Council then writes up a proposal which is submitted to the County for review. If that is approved, then the unincorporated area becomes incorporated, and is able to move forward with certain benefits, such as collecting city taxes, establishing a police force, and electing the leadership that will guide the city through the initial first few years. And – they get to celebrate.

When it comes to the City of Oakley that celebration happens on the first Saturday in July, which the city has marked as the date of the official commemoration of incorporation. Though the celebration was much smaller in the first few years, it has steadily grown, year after year, until it has become a major event.

Twenty Years!

This year’s event was a special one, as it marked the twentieth anniversary of Oakley becoming a city, and once again, the celebration at Freedom Basin Park was stellar! Both the lower and upper basin were filled with food vendors selling pizza, doughnuts, churros, shaved ice, brats, and more. There were retail vendors touting their wares, and at least a dozen or more bounce houses for the kids to play on.

Other than the requirement of purchasing a wristband for the kids to play in the bounce houses, the event is free to whomever wants to attend. The festival opens at six o’clock, and runs until nine o’clock, with the fireworks show starting about a half-hour after that. By the time the show begins, Freedom Basin is packed with people, as thousands of residents of Oakley, as well as some of the surrounding cities, make their way down for the show.

And the park isn’t the only place where people gather, either. Some of the other parks close to Freedom see a fair share of people, too! Novarina Park, and Magnolia Park, the two parks closest to Freedom High School, are usually pretty full. There are even people lined up along the sidewalks of both O’Hara Avenue and Neroly Road. It is definitely the highest attended event that the city puts together.

What Comes Next?

Now that Oakley has reached the twenty-year mark, what’s next for the still fledgling city? Well, for those who are interested in learning more about what Oakley has planned, the City posts their Strategic Plan on their website. They also host regular City Hall meetings, and host other events designed to keep the citizens of Oakley appraised of what is happening, what the City is considering, and how and when these changes are expected to take place.  And, of course, there is always the Cityhood celebration scheduled for next year! Will we see you there?

Cypress Storage is Proud to be a Part of Oakley!

We, at Cypress Storage, are glad to have be one of the businesses in Oakley, and we appreciate the opportunity to offer our services to families just like yours. If you are looking for a place to store some of your extra things, we would love for you to stop by and see us! Our well-trained, friendly staff are just waiting to meet you, and to help you find the right plan for your storage needs!


Cypress Self Storage


207 E. Cypress Rd. Oakley, CA 94561

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