Milpitas' concert and fireworks show brought out the crowds on the Fourth of July to the sports center field.
This year, the city charged $2 per person over the age of 13 to defray an estimated $80,000 price tag, convincing some participants to avoid the lines and watch from outside the gates.
"I don't know why they're charging," said Ricky Singh, a Milpitas resident who did not go in. Instead, he and a friend watched from a row of portable toilets. For Singh, fireworks has been a part of his Fourth of July tradition for the past 15 years, ever since he came to the U.S. from India.
The audience inside the gate sat in the stands and on the field with a view of the stage. Some danced to the live band.
"I can watch [fireworks] from my house," said Cecilia Garcia, who said she paid the admission to sit on the field, because "the community comes together" at the event.
Others traveled to Milpitas after finding out a fireworks show had gotten canceled in another city.
Travis Iydin of Fremont had gone to Oakland's Jack London Square in the past, but the city did not have a fireworks show this year. On Monday, he arrived at the sports center at 5 p.m., an hour before the gates opened.
"Two dollars? That's minor," he said. "I used to pay $10 for parking at Jack London Square. This is better, closer to home, and a lot more convenient."
Steve and Susan Auer attended with their 5-year-old granddaughter, Megan. Steve said previous fireworks shows have taken place in different parts of the city, including the old Ford Plant before it became the Great Mall. After living in Milpitas for about 35 years, he couldn't remember a year when the city didn't have a fireworks display.
"They've had it all the years we've been here," he said.
But cutting the fireworks show to save money was an issue the City Council discussed last spring. And it's also something that other cities, including Santa Clara and Redwood City, did this year.
"I think everyone in this area would be disappointed," if that happened in Milpitas, Auer said.
Milpitas resident Jae Suh, who watched from the Ocean Supermarket parking lot with a large group, said if it ever happened, "We would find another fireworks, wherever the nearest one is."
Within the group of families sat Santa Clara resident, Ray Nicolas, who said Shoreline Amphitheatre would be a likely option.
Even though the city of Santa Clara canceled its fireworks show this year, he went to the Great America show on Saturday, then watched it again from his house on Sunday.