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By Rob McAllister

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Thousands of visitors to Cal Expo were excited about one thing: fireworks.

Even with smoke settling around Cal Expo from the afternoon fire, families we spoke to say they didn’t want to miss the show.

“You can’t stop this; this is tradition, man,” said one spectator.

“We were just waiting around hoping that it was still going to go on because I didn’t want to drive back to Stockton,” said a spectator.

The fireworks extravaganza was in jeopardy of not going on for the 15th straight year, but Cal Expo and fire officials say the air quality improved enough to go forward.

“We were mostly concerned just about the smoke, and as the smoke dissipates we felt that it was definitely safe for people to come,” said Cal Expo spokeswoman Jen Castleberry.

Safety was a concern as the smoke was still too heavy after firefighters got the flames under control. It meant the Sacramento Republic FC soccer match would be canceled at Bonney Field.

“Due to the air quality, with an outdoor stadium and dealing with athletes, it was best to cancel for this evening,” said Erika Bjork, a Sacramento Republic FC spokesperson.

With each car that arrived, a Republic FC employee was there to tell the fans they’d have to come back another day.

“We had everybody and we were looking forward to the fireworks too,” said a fan.

Fans were upset, but knew that there wasn’t any other option.

“It’s my first soccer match. We were really looking forward to it, but we understand,” said a fan.

Tickets that were sold will be honored at a later game.

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