Have a star-spangled Fourth
By SHARON KENNEDY WYNNE
Published June 28, 2007
For the Fourth of July, nothing beats a good old-fashioned fireworks show. Sure it's crowded, traffic is a nightmare and some yahoos insist on setting off their cheap roadside firecrackers. But something compels us to suck it up and see the big show, because we never outgrow our love for explosions in the sky.
There are those who park at a safe distance and either bike or roller skate their way to a better viewing spot. Then there are those who set up camp in a good picnicking spot an hour or two early to enjoy the outdoors. Or some buzz over to a strategically located bar in the Channelside district or at the beach to get festive before things get popping.
- Music, face painting and other family entertainment will start at 1 p.m. at the Pier in downtown St. Petersburg, leading up to the fireworks over Spa Beach Park at 9 p.m. On the beaches, Pass-a-Grille can be toughest for parking but you can see the beach shows up and down the coast from there.
- Tampa's Channelside District starts toasting the Fourth of July earlier in the day with DJs and live entertainment starting at 4 and fireworks launched from a barge in Garrison Channel at 9 p.m.
- Keep the kids occupied by taking advantage of the Florida Aquarium's Independence Day deal of $10 admission after 3 p.m. and a good viewing spot in the venue's Explore-A-Shore area.
- And for the truly patriotic, join the city of Tampa beach cleanup the next day, when the July 4 litter is picked up at Ben T. Davis Beach and Picnic Island Beach on July 5 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Lutz Independence Day parade
The Lutz Independence Day parade begins at 10 a.m. at Lutz-Lake Fern Rad and Crooked Lane. Other Lutz events include an 8 a.m. 5K race, and a 9:20 a.m. performance by the Florida Cracker Cowboys bluegrass band at Train Depot.
Main Street Blast!
Greater New Port Richey Main Street celebration with music on two stages, including the Edisons (5-8 p.m.), headliners the Classic Rock All Stars (8:30-11 p.m., with sets before and after fireworks), others. Also car and truck cruise-in by Sunset Corvette Club, Pup Strut event by the SPCA, Miss Firecracker Contest, food vendors and fireworks at dark. 4-11 p.m. Sat. Downtown New Port Richey, Main Street, Grand Boulevard and nearby areas, New Port Richey. $2. (727) 842-8066; www.nprmainstreet.com
Clearwater Celebrates America
Clearwater Parks and Recreation Department celebration, with concerts, crafts, kid's activities, food, fireworks. Southern rock by The Outlaws, 7:15 p.m., and Starship with Mickey Thomas, 9 p.m. Tue. Also the Mostly Pops Orchestra with John, Mary K. and Paul Wilson, 7:30 p.m. Wed., followed by fireworks. Gates open. 4 p.m. Tue. and 2 p.m. Wed. Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater. Free. (727) 562-4700; www.myclearwater.com
Annual old-fashioned Citrus County "hometown" festival, with entertainment, children's activities, food for purchase and fireworks display at dusk. Bring lawn chairs or blankets. 5-10 p.m. Tue. Wallace Brooks Park, 399 E Dampier St., Inverness. Also at Liberty Park, off North Apopka Avenue, on Lake Henderson, near downtown. Free. (352) 726-3913; www.cityofinvernessonline.com
With concert by national Christian recording artist Mark Schultz and special guests Steadfast 190 and inC. Also kid's activities, fireworks display. 6-9:30 p.m. Tue. Town Square Plaza Park, 5010 81st Ave. N, Pinellas Park. Free. (727) 546-1196
Dunedin Concert and fireworks
With entertainment by the Impacs and the Florida '50s Original Rockers dance troupe; also fireworks display, 9:30 p.m. Food and beverage vendors on site; no coolers or food may be brought in. Begins 6:30 p.m. Tue. Knology Park, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Free. (727) 812-4531
Redington Fireworks Extravaganza
Sponsored by the towns of Redington Shores, Indian Shores and North Redington Shores. At dusk Wed. Redington Shores Beach Access, 182nd Avenue W and Gulf Boulevard, Redington Shores. Free. (727) 397-5538
SS 'American Victory' Fourth
Former wartime cargo carrier, now being restored as mariner's museum, has special pricing for self-guided restoration tours and offers a view of the Channelside fireworks. Picnic style food and drink for purchase (noon-3 p.m. and 5-7 p.m.). All-day admission allows guests to tour ship and return later for fireworks at no additional cost. Visitors boarding ship after 5 p.m. pay $5. Starts 10 a.m. Wed. SS American Victory, 705 Channelside Drive, Tampa. All day admission, $10; discount for 12 and younger. (813) 228-8766; www.americanvictory.org
Fourth of July at the Pier
Music and family fun, including '60s-'70s music by the Cool Daddies (1 p.m.), '80s sounds of Supergenius (4 p.m.) and music by the Rhythm Method (7-10 p.m.). Also radio personalities from WMTX-FM "Mix" 100.7 (3-9 p.m.) and view of fireworks over Spa Beach Park (9 p.m.). 1-10 p.m. Wed., the Pier, 800 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 821-6443
Fireworks at Channelside
Tampa's Channelside area celebrates the holiday with music by DJs, 4-6 p.m., live entertainment, 6-9 p.m., and fireworks display at 9 p.m. launched from a barge in Garrison Channel; music by DJ follows. Fireworks can be viewed from Cotanchobee Park, Florida Aquarium (admission special, $10 after 3 p.m.), Marriott Waterside, S.S. American Victory, other locations. Activities begin 2 p.m. Wed. Channelside district, Channelside Drive, downtown Tampa. Free (unless noted). www.funintampabay.com
Family celebration in Pasco county with national and local entertainers on indoor and outdoor stages, kiddie carnival, animal show by Lowry Park Zoo, watermelon, hot dog and apple pie-eating contests, food court. Fireworks by Zambelli, 9:15 p.m. Chairs and blankets okay; no personal fireworks, pets, alcohol or coolers. Activities begin 3 p.m. Wed. Pasco County Fairgrounds, 36722 SR 52, Dade City. $3 adults, ages 10 and younger free; parking $5. (352) 567-6678; www.sparklebration.net
Plant City Fourth Celebration
Celebration for the family with live entertainment, kid's games, food vendors and fireworks display. Presented by Plant City Parks and Recreation Department, others. Seating limited and early arrival suggested. 5-9 p.m. Wed. Plant City Stadium, 1810 E Park Road, Plant City. Free admission; parking $3. www.plantcitygov.com/rec
Safety Harbor July 4th celebration
Fireworks, food and drink vendors, family area with moon walks, inflatable activities, crafts, miniature golf; also music by Pool Boys, Wildlife Refugees, Shakes Society, Kelly Conley, others. 5-9 p.m. Wed. Safety Harbor, along Bayshore Boulevard at the City Marina. Free. (727) 724-1572
Largo Fourth of July celebration
Featuring fireworks and music by the Black Honkeys and Courtney Jans. No pets, coolers, alcohol, personal fireworks or sparklers permitted in park. Blankets and lawn chairs okay. Free parking and shuttle from Largo High School and Pinellas County School Board lots. 6-10 p.m. Wed. Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive. Free. (727) 587-6775
Sunset and July Fourth fireworks cruise
Sunset cruise followed by a return to the channel area for a view of fireworks at Channelside; also hors d'oeuvres, beer and wine. Space limited; 48-hour cancellation policy. 7 p.m. Wed. Bay Spirit Catamaran at Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $79.95 person, $150 couple. Reservations, (813) 273-4568
Radio station WPOI-FM 101.5 "The Point" provides music and give-aways near the Cheesecake Factory, beginning 7:30 p.m. Wed. Fireworks display at 9 p.m. Westfield Brandon, 459 Brandon Town Center (off Interstate 75 and SR 60). (813) 661-6255; www.westfield.com
Gulfport Fireworks and Fourth Celebration
Independence Day activities for the family. Kid's Star-Spangled Fishing Derby 8-11 a.m; Optimist Club sandcastle contest, 10 a.m.-noon; children's activities, noon-6 p.m. Also craft and food vendors, live music by Johnny and the Rockets, 4-10 p.m. on Gulfport Casino's outdoor stage. Community parade, 6 p.m; fireworks display follows at 9 p.m. Wed. Downtown Gulfport waterfront district, Shore and Beach Boulevards and nearby area. Free. (727) 893-1067
Treasure Island Fourth
Fireworks on the beach. 9 p.m. Wed. 112th Avenue and Gulf Boulevard, Treasure Island. Free. (727) 547-4575 ext. 237
St. Pete Beach Fireworks
City-sponsored display at 9 p.m. Wed. at the County Park area, 4700 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, visible from locations along St. Pete Beach. (727) 367-2735.
Madeira Beach Fireworks
Fireworks display will be at 9 p.m. Wed. at Recreation Department ballfield behind City Hall, 300 Municipal Drive. Fireworks can be viewed from City Hall, the Recreation area, American Legion Drive, Madeira Shopping Plaza and Madeira Beach Middle School. (727) 391-3400 or (727) 391-9951.