PALM DESERT, Calif. -


Independence day kicked off in Palm Desert with a full day of grilling, picnicking and family time at Civic Center Park.

"It's a wonderful thing, it brings everyone together," said Ron Perez, head wrestling coach at La Quinta High School. The team came out and grilled hot dogs and hamburgers to raise money for the team.

"We get to come out with the family and sometimes you have your friends over here too," said 11-year-old Kenna Porras of Coachella.

The humid weather wasn't ideal for a day outside.

"It's really really hot," Porras said.

"You get overheated," Perez said.

"It's really hot, like sticky, but in the water it's perfect," said Ashley Wells of Palm Desert.

Which is why hundreds of people decided to cool off at the Palm Desert Aquatic Center, where they also got to watch the fireworks show.

"It's exciting there's a lot of people and the kids are having a blast," said Bobby Wells of Palm Desert.

"This is my first time and I'm really excited about seeing the fireworks," said Therese Cheers, who recently moved to the desert.

And further west, the Palm Springs Power baseball team took on the San Diego Force, winning 1 to 0 and warming the crowd up for another light show.

"That sort of represents the American spirit. Baseball is a sport only America does, and it's cool that we won too," said Matt Morris, who is visiting Palm Springs for the holiday weekend.

But today wasn't just about celebrating America's past times like baseball and barbecues. It's about celebrating American values and the birthday of the Home of the Free.

"It's just all Americans coming together and feeling good about being American," Morris said.

"It's about freedom, living free, doing whatever you want with whoever you want," said Marissa Moorhead, also visiting from out of town.