Where to see fireworks, celebrate Fourth of July

Ready to celebrate in red, white, and blue? Here is a list of some of the best places to see fireworks for free on July 3rd and 4th and participate in other Independence Day festivities around the Tampa Bay Area.

JULY 3rd (Wednesday)

Celebrate Independence Day with baseball and post-game fireworks! The Threshers take on Fort Myers at Spectrum Field, Clearwater Threshers, 601 N. Old Coachman Road, in Clearwater. Gates open at 5 p.m. and cap the night off with fireworks after the game.

Join a patriotic picnic celebration featuring a live band and a laser light show in Highlander Park, 903 Michigan Blvd. The band, Ronnie Dee & The SuperStars, play starting at 7 p.m. The Laser Light Show begins at approximately 9 p.m. Bring a picnic blanket and lawn chairs. Concessions will be available, including beer and wine. Presented by Dunedin Parks & Recreation. 

The City of Inverness’ Patriotic Evening is set to “light the sky” with a 9 p.m. fireworks display. All are encouraged to find a comfortable spot, nook, car seat, boat seat, or pub seat of choice to watch the fireworks over Lake Henderson.

The Red, White, & Kaboom Independence Celebration will take place with food trucks, live music, and family activities at Lake Mirror along the Frances Langford Promenade from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. followed by a fireworks display. Bring a blanket and hang out with friends and family at the amphitheater on the promenade. Everyone is encouraged to bring at least one food item to benefit Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE).

Longboat Key
The annual Longboat Key Freedom Festival parade will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. starting at Longboat Key Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road. Children, families, and patriotically dressed pets are encouraged to join in the parade with Longboat Key police and fire rescue personnel, elected officials, and creative, patriotic floats from local businesses.

Winter Haven
Rock N’ Freedom Fest is the City will take place in Martin Luther King Jr. Park on the shore of Lake Silver from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Expect live music, kids activities, bounce houses, kayaking on Lake Silver, food trucks, and a Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team show at 7:15 p.m. Fireworks over the lake start at 9 p.m.

JULY 4th (Thursday)

Downtown Tampa 
Tampa’s Boom by the Bay features four fireworks displays spanning 2.5 miles of waterfront along the Tampa Riverwalk. The fireworks will be set off starting at around 9 p.m. at Armature Works, Riverfront Park, the Tampa Convention Center, and Sparkman Wharf. Fireworks over Hillsborough Bay in Tampa."Tampa’s known for all of our celebrations and traditions. And as your new Mayor, I want to kick off my time in office with a BANG,’’ says Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. “We’re sparking a brand new tradition in Tampa. One that celebrates our nation’s independence, our freedoms, and all the things that make us proud to be Americans! Tell your friends, tell your family, and get ready to sport your brightest shades of red, white, and blue -- this is going to be one celebration you won’t want to miss!" 

Family-oriented games, activities, food and beer trucks, and live music will kick off the celebration starting earlier in the day at Riverfront Park on the west bank of the Hillsborough River and along the Tampa Riverwalk on the east bank of the river wrapping around to Cotanchobee Park and Sparkman Wharf in the Channel District.

HART will be offering a free shuttle service around downtown all day. And the streetcar connecting downtown to Ybor City will be operating for free.

For more information and a complete agenda, visit the Boom by the Bay website.

Downtown Clearwater
Enjoy music, food, drinks, local vendors, and more family-friendly activities at Coachman Park, 301 Drew St. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the fireworks will begin between 9-9:30 p.m.  

Downtown St. Petersburg
Grab your lawn chairs and watch a spectacular fireworks display over the waters of Tampa Bay. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m. at St. Pete's Spa Beach Park, 508-660 2nd Ave. NE.

Family activities, food, a watermelon eating contest, kids sack races, a corn hole tournament, and entertainment start at 2 p.m. at Lake Ariana Park, 2215 Lake Ariana Boulevard. Fireworks follow at approximately 9 p.m.

The Bartow Adult Concert Band kicks off the day with a patriotic concert at the Bartow Civic Center from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free and seats are first-come, first-serve. Bartow’s annual 4th of July Celebration will be held at Mosaic Park, 2250 S. Floral Ave., beginning at 4 p.m. Guests will enjoy a full lineup of live music, food vendors, games, and more topped off by fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

Boca Grande
The annual 4th of July Golf Cart Parade gathers at the side parking lot between Englewood Bank and the Old Theatre Building at 9 a.m. The parade begins at 9:20 a.m. with a trip down 3rd Street to Gilchrist Avenue, then down 1st Sreet and around town twice. Adults and older children are encouraged to ride bicycles alongside the golf carts. Fireworks start about 9 p.m. at the Boca Grande Marina.

Celebrate America at the Bandshell in Hernando Park featuring a neighborhood party. Festivities include live performances by the Live Oak Theater Group, Memories Quartet, Vicki Roush, and Al Chance from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 205 East Fort Dade Ave. 

Dade City
El Cuatro Fest will feature music, watermelon eating contests, artisan vendors, food trucks, beer & wine garden, full cash bars, a corn hole contest, lawn games, DJs, dancing, and fireworks from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. at 16117 Lake Iola Road.

Join the City of Davenport for live entertainment, food vendors, and family fun at the Lewis Mathews Sports Complex, 400 Palm St., starting at 3 p.m. Fireworks start at 9:15 p.m.

Food, live music, dancing, Mobile DJ Music by DJ John Paul Gasca, shopping, kids zone, face painting, and more starts at 2 p.m. at the Dundee Community Center, 603 Lake Marie Blvd. Fireworks begin at 9:20 p.m. over Lake Marie.

Fireworks will launch from Blind Pass Beach (aka Middle Beach) on Manasota Key at approximately 9:05 p.m. Parking at the park is limited, so spectators are encouraged to arrive early or purchase a ticket to the air-conditioned party under the VIP tent. The fireworks will be visible anywhere along the Lemon Bay Intracoastal Waterway from the Tom Adams Bridge to Englewood Isles. 

Gulfport Marina's Fishing Derby and Free Family Sand Sculpture Contest start first thing in the morning. The streets will turn red, white, and blue with floats during the Independence Day Parade starting at 6 p.m. A fireworks display starts at 9 p.m. on Gulfport Beach.

Haines City
Family-friendly activities take place from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Lake Eva Park, 555 Ledwith Ave., including live entertainment, arts & crafts vendors, a beer garden, food concessions, children’s activities, games, and shopping at craft and community booths. The evening will wrap up with fireworks.

Lake Wales
The annual 4th of July Celebration featuring music, food, and craft vendors, games, bounce houses, pony rides and more takes place on the Shores of Lake Wailes starting at 2 p.m. Fireworks over Lake Wailes begin at 9:15 p.m.

Beginning at 6 p.m., enjoy food, entertainment, and activities for all ages in Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive, followed by fireworks starting at approximately 9:15 p.m.

Plant City
Family fun activities including face painting, corn hole competition, balloon art, rock wall, bungee jumping, and food vendors on the grass at Plant City Stadium, 1810 East Park Road, starting at 6 p.m. Entertainment provided by Solaris starts at 7 p.m. A military salute and national anthem will be at 9 p.m. followed by fireworks at approximately 9:15 p.m.

Many watch fireworks from boats.Redington Shores
Enjoy 4th of July on the Redington Shores beach at dusk. Beach Access is available at 182nd Avenue and Gulf Boulevard. 

Safety Harbor
The annual parade starts at 10 a.m. down Main Street from Bayshore Drive to 9th Street. Starting at 5 p.m., children's activities, live entertainment, and food vendors will be open at the marina and waterfront park. Fireworks start at 9 p.m.

The Choral Artists of Sarasota present Sounds of Independence at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N Pineapple Ave., from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., featuring traditional patriotic favorites and a salute to the armed forces with the Sarasota Concert Band. Fireworks at the Sarasota Bayfront begin at dusk, approximately 9 p.m., with excellent viewing from Bayfront Park, 5 Bayfront Drive. Arrive early with a lawn chair or blanket to claim your prime viewing spot around the peninsula.

Siesta Key
The Siesta Key Chamber hosts its 29th annual Fourth of July fireworks celebration on Siesta Key Beach starting at dusk, shortly after 9 p.m., and the show will be visible from Siesta Key Public Beach and Crescent Beach, as well as to boaters on the Gulf and Intracoastal Waterway.

Tarpon Springs
Bring the family to enjoy a water slide, paddle boarding, inflatables, lawn games, and free hot dogs (while supplies last) at Craig Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A hot dog eating contest will take place at noon for ages 16 and up. Live entertainment provided by Rusty Trumpet will feature patriotic songs and hits from the '60s to today. Fireworks start after sunset.

Temple Terrace
The annual parade starts at 10 a.m. at Whiteway and Gillette and will run south to Druid Hills, west to Ridgedale, and south to the Temple Terrace Little League fields. Evening festivities, including food vendors and live music, will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 1st Fairway of Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club, 200 Inverness Ave. (between Belle Terre and Woodmont avenues.) Fireworks begin at 9:15 p.m.

Treasure Island
Fireworks start on the beach at 9 p.m. Off-site parking will be offered at Treasure Island Park for $15 a vehicle.

Wesley Chapel
Festivities kick off at 5 p.m. with food trucks, vendors, bounce park, music, and more. The party will end with a free fireworks show till 9:30 p.m. at 5227 Autumn Ridge Drive, in the heart of Avalon Park West, 33613 State Road 54.

Snook Haven hosts its annual Fourth of July Myakka River Kayak Festival from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fireworks light up Venice beach at dusk. B.Y.O. kayak or canoe, or rent one from Snook Haven to paddle as early as 8 a.m. Music starts at 11 a.m. Stick around for an afternoon on the water accompanied by live music, smokehouse barbecue, and craft beer in a classic "Old Florida" setting. Fireworks launch at dusk, shortly after 9 p.m., in the south Sarasota County Venice Beach area, from the south Venice jetty. The display can be viewed along Venice Beach and Nokomis Beach, and from the water on the Gulf of Mexico and on the Intracoastal Waterway, northeast of the jetty.

For more information, please visit the websites for Visit Tampa Bay, Visit St. Pete Clearwater, Visit Sarasota, and Visit Central Florida.

If you know of additional festivities, list them below in the comment section.
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