There’s not a single story to how a community celebrates July 4th — it’s a kaleidoscope of images and experiences. Berkeleyside asked its community to tweet, Facebook, send photos to Flickr, blog and comment on how it spent a Berkeley 4th. We used Storify to tell the tale.

Hey, Berkeleysiders! 4th of July weekend started 24 hours ago. Send us your stories, pics, tweets — #Berkeley4th:
July 2, 2011
Diana Howard took her sketchbook to the 50th year of the Round Park 4th of July parade. 
Tilden Park is holding 4th July Open House today. Crafts, farm activities, trails, ice cream, 11-3pm @ebrpd #berkeley4th
July 4, 2011
Many Berkeleysiders told us about their plans. 
A swim at Lake Anza, shopping for new sleeping bag and tent at REI, and then Picante for fish tacos. #berkeley4th
July 3, 2011
Happy 4th. It’s all about kid vs grown up kick ball at Emerson school. #Berkeley4th
July 4, 2011
And from comments on our July 4th posts, a variety of experiences: 

Patsypol: “Two wonderful events..a neighborhood potluck lunch with old friends from the last thirty years and now some grandchildren and then a private backyard barbeque with gin and tonic in the fading sun, Paul Thorn on the CD and a few illicit fireworks.  I always make two cakes decorated as American for the friends and one for my spouse and me.  Perfect.  Lucky us.”
Berto: “I’m working on a presentation for a conference later this month.  Yay!”
Stefan Lasiewski: “We host our annual block party on July 4th. Close off the street, get out the umbrellas and shade structures, rent a bouncy house, fire up the grills and hang out with the neighbors.”

NannyState: “A Berkeley 4th of July is freezing your ass off sitting on the rocks at the marina watching the soft glow of fireworks going off in the fog above your head.  Then walking two miles back to your car because you parked above San Pablo.”

Berto wasn’t the only Berkeleysider who was caught in the mundane:
What we really did with our 4th of July. Which do you like? #berkeley4th

Jana Bouc blogged: “Why not make every day Independence Day and claim your right to freedom from whatever holds you back? Today I chose the freedom of sketching blueberries in my sketchbook instead of struggling with other ‘work’ I’ve been doing in the studio.”

Here’s what came out:

Some unnamed unicyclists had a more vigorous approach to freedom, with help from the Berkeley hills and Jimi Hendrix:

YouTube video
Soshana O’Keefe posts on our Facebook page: “My son Ian excited about his flag and the fire engine parked on Shattuck and Rose.” As you can see: 
Other photographers were out in force. Tim Ereneta captured some Cesar Chavez Park kite-flying, and Keoki Seu felt all patriotic with flags aflutter:  
A Windy Fourth
Feeling Independent
Food plays a big part for many people. 

Susan Helmrich emailed us: “I don’t know how to tweet, but I made a plum torte and went to a barbeque.” From the evidence below, the plum torte looks a sight to behold. 

@quitasarah, after those paint swatches earlier, found time for some scrumptious food as well: 
Stone-Wood 4th of July #berkeley4th
Grilled pineapple & vanilla ice cream. #goodendtoagoodday #berkeley4th

And after dark there were fireworks. 

Going to Berkeley Pier tonight to see fireworks. Happy #fourthofjuly.
July 4, 2011
Up on indian rock in berkeley, waiting for the fireworks while the locals blaze on!
July 4, 2011
@berkeleyside Pretty good view from Rose and Acton for folks who don’t want to fight the crowds/parking #berkeley4th
July 4, 2011
It’s called having a bucket of water ready & not setting off near cars, dead grass, or other flammables. #berkeley4th #HelicopterDroppingH2O
July 4, 2011
Stood on Buena Vista Way with family and strangers for excellent view of Berkeley and Alameda shows. #berkeley4th
July 4, 2011
4 yo opted out of fireworks. 6 yo and husband headed out for very long walk with friends to #berkeley marina #berkeley4th
July 4, 2011
Happy #berkeley4th !! Had a small but fun BBQ at home. Watched the SF and Berkeley shows from the hills. Minimal fog= great view!
July 4, 2011
“Hand in my pocket / hide my bottle rocket.” Love firework shows in the neighborhoods. #BadAss #berkeley4th
July 4, 2011
Colleen Larkin emailed in: “Well…we enjoyed dinner and a cocktail…a view of SF & Berkeley’s displays from the freeway, but made it to a parking lot on 4th street for this shot…”

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...