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Celebrating a Booming Fourth

Whether at the beach, at a baseball game or at a hometown (or downtown) festival, if you’re looking for spectacular fireworks displays, Tampa Bay has plenty.

Both Clearwater Celebrates America and Light Up Tampa Bay bill themselves as the largest fireworks display in the area. 

Clearwater Celebrates America takes place in Coachman Park in downtown Clearwater. The Coachman Park Pops Orchestra featuring The Wilsons will provide music and there will be food, drinks, local vendors and family-friendly activities.

Light Up Tampa Bay will be lighting up the night sky in downtown Tampa. The waterfront display takes place at Channelside Bay Plaza. Beginning at 6 p.m., 2,500 wristbands will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for this standing room only event. Throughout the evening there will be live music, entertainment, and family-friendly activities. The restaurants and stores in Channelside Plaza will be open.

At the same time, The Tampa Red, White & Blue festival will be taking place at Cotanchobee Park. The festival will feature live jazz music, food vendors, kids’ entertainment, carnival games, and a patriotic fashion show. Kids, adults and dogs can participate in a Best Dressed in Red, White & Blue contest. The American Art Lounge will have exhibitions of local artists, jewelers and craft designers.

Registration for the event is not required; however, if you register, you are automatically entered into a drawing to win a prize. Bring a backpack of school supplies to be given to children in underserved communities and you’ll get a chance to spin the Win Wheel for a prize.

If you’d rather have a reserved seat for the firework festivities in downtown Tampa, several museums have special extended hours and events. You can see the fireworks onboard the historic S.S. American Victory. Built in 1945, the ship is one of only four operational World War II merchant steamships in the U.S. and proceeds from the event will help support its maintenance and operation. Get there early to enjoy the Family FunFest featuring musical entertainment from DJ Ian Paul, a special kids’ zone and food trucks.

The Florida Aquarium also has seats and family-friendly entertainment, as well as all-American-themed dinner options and fabulous sea creatures.

Not to be outdone, downtown St. Petersburg has its own celebration at Vinoy and North Straub Parks with live music, kids’ games and activities, food trucks and fireworks.

Nothing is quite as American as enjoying a baseball game. Local minor league teams will help you get in the Independence Day spirit with fireworks shows after their games. The first one up to bat is the Clearwater Threshers on July 1 followed by the Dunedin Blue Jays on July 3 and the Tampa Yankees on July 4.

Plant City, Safety Harbor, Largo and Dade City give their Independence Day Celebrations a bit of hometown flair with eating contests and parades before the first fireworks fuses are lit.

Safety Harbor’s patriotic parade is at 10 a.m. and then the party starts up again later in the day with a festival featuring children’s activities, live entertainment and fireworks.
 
Participate in a pie eating contest or T-shirt decorating contest at Largo’s Fourth of July Celebration. They’ll also have food, live entertainment, and activities for all ages.

Plant City’s Fourth of July celebration will feature games, inflatables, a rock wall, a bungee jumper, food, entertainment and a military salute.

Sparklebration takes place in Dade City. In addition to bounce houses, games, pony rides and a petting zoo, there will be a hot dog eating contest, watermelon eating contest and karaoke contest. Musical entertainment includes Billy “Elvis” Lindsey and The Dennis Lee Show.

If the beach is your scene, Gulfport is the place to be. Gulfport’s Independence Day celebration starts with a fishing tournament, family sand sculpture contest and a parade and ends the day with fireworks.

Enjoy a safe and happy Fourth!

Fourth of July Celebrations

Clearwater Celebrates America
Coachman Park
Event starts at 4 p.m.
Fireworks – 9 p.m.

Gulfport’s July 4th Celebration
Gulfport Beach
Events start at 7:30 a.m.
Fireworks – 9 p.m.

St. Petersburg July Fireworks Celebration
Vinoy and North Straub Parks
Event starts at 5 p.m.
Fireworks – 9 p.m.

Light Up Tampa Bay
Channelside Plaza
Event starts at 6 p.m.
Fireworks – 8:45 p.m.

Tampa Red, White & Blue Festival
Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park
Event starts at 6 p.m.
Fireworks – 8:45 p.m.

The Fourth of July Family FunFest
American Victory Ship
Event starts at 6:30 p.m.
Fireworks – 8:45 p.m.

Independence Day Celebration
Florida Aquarium
Aquarium opens at 9:30 a.m.
Fireworks – 8:45 p.m.

Sparklebration
Pasco County Fairgrounds, Dade City
Event starts at 4 p.m.
Fireworks – 9:15 p.m.

Plant City Stadium
Event starts at 6 p.m.
Fireworks – 9:15 p.m.

Safety Harbor Marina
Event starts at 5 p.m.
Fireworks – 9 p.m.

Largo Central Park
Event starts at 6 p.m.
Fireworks – 9:15 p.m.

Baseball Games with Fireworks after the Game

Clearwater Threshers
July 1
Game starts at 6:15 p.m.

Dunedin Blue Jays
July 3
Game starts at 6:15 p.m.

Tampa Yankees
July 4
Game starts at 7 p.m.

By Marcy Sanford

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