Celebrating the 4th of July in Lake Forest

A rundown of where to be on Independence Day in Lake Forest.

From when to snag your parade-watching spot to where to buy tickets for the traditional pancake breakfast, Lake Forest Patch has all the information you need to celebrate Fourth of July in Lake Forest.

The theme for this year's parade—the city's 21st annual, taking place on a Wednesday—is "Hometown USA."

Road closures in the neighborhoods near the parade route begin at about 5:30 a.m. As in previous years, residents along those roads have been notified that the streets will be inaccessible by vehicle on the Fourth until the parade cleanup concludes, at about 1 p.m.

That's also about the time when early-bird families begin showing up to reserve a spot on the curb along the parade route.


But before the parade kicks off at 10 a.m., hundreds will compete in the annual 5K run/walk, which will begin at 7:30 a.m. at the intersection of Lake Forest Drive and Serrano Road. In 2012, .

This year marks the 18th in a row for the race, which is organized by the  Parent Student Teacher Organization.

Runners will race downhill to Jeronimo Road, where they will make a U-turn and head uphill toward Toledo Way. At Toledo, racers swing right toward El Toro High School, where they make another U-turn. Then they will head back to where the race began by taking Toledo back to Lake Forest, then Lake Forest Drive up to Serrano.

Registration for the race is $30 for adults, $10 for students.

Click here to register for the race online. Online registration is available through midnight June 30.

Participants who register online can pick up race materials the day before the race.

From 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, organizers will hand out race packets in front of at the corner of Lake Forest Drive and Serrano Road. Race materials can also be picked up beginning at 6 a.m. on race day near the start line at the corner of Lake Forest Drive and Serrano Road.

Those who haven't yet registered can also do so during that time, or between 6 and 7:15 a.m. on race day. (Late registration is payable only by cash or check made out to ETHS PSTO.)


Shortly before the runners take off, the Kiwanis Club of Lake Forest will begin selling pancake breakfasts in front of El Toro High School.

Proceeds from the breakfast, which will run from 7 to 10 a.m., go to the Key Clubs of El Toro and Trabuco Hills high schools. Students in those clubs perform community service that benefits local children.

Chowing down at the 12th annual morning meal is $5 per plate—cash only—on July 4. But you can avoid the ticket line with presale purchase at Lake Forest business , at 26239 Enterprise Court.

Stop in Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or call (949) 770-1113 Ext. 1 and make an appointment to get your tickets (cash or card accepted).


At 10 a.m., the parade starts at the Toledo Way and Ridge Route Drive intersection, outside El Toro High School. The parade will march Toledo toward Lake Forest Drive until reaching Lake Forest Drive, where participants will hang a right and proceed toward Serrano Road. At Serrano, paraders will make two more right turns before ending the procession back at the high school.

Grab a prime viewing spot by sitting along Toledo Way or Lake Forest Drive.


Remember that all fireworks—whether purchased or homemade—are illegal throughout Lake Forest.

Those caught with the explosives can be arrested on misdemeanor charges, which can come with a $1,000 fine.

But homemade "soda bombs" can get you locked up for a felony. 

About 10,000 people are expected to turn out for the parade this year.

Volunteering alongside sheriff's deputies to keep attendees safe will be 20 reserve deputies, 15 Explorers and 12 from the sheriff's Team of Active Retired Seniors.

John Irish June 28, 2012 at 05:51 AM
Hi, Sarah... A few items of clarification: 1. Most roads, including Lake Forest between Jeronimo & Serrano, are closed at 5:30 AM & remain closed until about 1:00 PM. Ridge Roure between Partido & Longwood is also closed at 5:30 AM. And Lake Forest between Serrano & Chinook, is closed at 5:00 AM for the 5K Run/Walk folks. 2. There are additional road closures beginning at 9:45 AM. The residents affected have been or will be notified by the City. 3. There will be a limited number of handicap parking spaces at the Ace Hardware parking lot, Serrano & Lake Forest. Individuals using these spaces can then take the short journey to viewing areas at Serrano & Lake Forest.. 4, Statements that the parade ends at Serrano & Dayton are somewhat confusing. Actually, most parade entries continue on, at parade pace, to the de-staging areas around El Toro High School. However, Certain VIPs, such as our City Council, etc, will exit Serrano at Dayton to view the rest of the parade from Buffwood & Lake Forest. Thanks for a great summary of our July 4th events. John Irish, July 4th Parade Logistics volunteer,
Sarah de Crescenzo June 28, 2012 at 06:01 AM
Hi John! Thanks for the additional details. I've updated the story to reflect closures beginning at 5:30 a.m.
Erica July 01, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Where is parking?


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