By Carrie Pinkard
The United States of America is turning 243 years old this year, which means it’s time to celebrate.
All around the Tampa Bay area there are events where people can show off their patriotism. Below is a a list of things to do in the area, and what to listen to on WUSF/WSMR on your way there.
Wednesday, July 3
Red White and Brew, Spring Hill - There will be food trucks, vendors, live music, and fireworks. The event runs 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Parking is $5 per vehicle, free admission.
Patriotic Evening, Inverness - Bring a blanket, chair, and flashlight to enjoy fireworks over Lake Henderson, 9 p.m.
Red, White, and Kaboom, Lakeland - There will be a free concert from The City Saints starting at 6 p.m. followed by fireworks at 9 p.m. Coolers are allowed and the event is free to the public.
Light up the Park, Dunedin - Since Dunedin can't hold its traditional fireworks show at the Dunedin Stadium, the city is holding a free laser light show and concert in Highlander Park. Ronnie Dee and The SuperStars play at 7 p.m., the laser light show starts around 9 p.m.
Kiwanis Midnight Run, Dunedin - There are three different race options for people to take part in: a one mile run starting at 11:30 p.m., a 10K run starting at 11:50 p.m. and a 5K run beginning at midnight on the Fourth of July.
Thursday, July 4
Independence Day Celebration, Busch Gardens - The theme park will have a fireworks display, and the park will be open until 11 p.m. for the holiday. They will be serving special patriotic themed food. Busch Gardens is offering a special deal on fun cards, they’re $64.99.
Myakka River Kayak Festival and 4th of July Jam Blast – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Snook Haven, 5000 E. Venice Ave, Venice. Enjoy live music, craft beers, and free kayak and canoe rentals. Free admission.
Bok Tower Gardens - Free admission all day to celebrate the holiday. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Annual Freedom Fest Parade – 9 to 11 a.m. Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road, Longboat Key. Come enjoy a patriotic parade. There will be activities, food, drinks and games at Bicentennial Park after the parade. Free admission.
Tampa's Boom by the Bay – 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Between 100,000 and 200,000 people are expected to turn out to Tampa's first Boom by the Bay, which will feature family-friendly activities, live entertainment and four firework displays along Tampa's waterfront.
Events will take place at Armature Works (beginning at 10 a.m.), Star Spangled Sparkman (beginning at 4 p.m.), Water Works Park, Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, Tampa Convention Center/The Sail and Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park (last four begin at 6 p.m.). Fireworks start at around 9 p.m. HART will offer free shuttle and streetcar service.
Anna Maria Island Privateer 4th of July Parade – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Coquina Beach South Entrance to Pine Avenue in Anna Maria Island. Free admission.
Safety Harbor 4th of July Parade – 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Main Street, Safety Harbor. After the parade, enjoy snacks and drinks with patriotic music under the Gazebo for a Patriotic Ceremony. Free admission.
Tarpon Springs Independence Day Picnic – 10 a.m to 2 p.m. Craig Park, just off Tarpon Avenue at Springs Boulevard, Tarpon Springs. Bring your lawn chairs and towels for a picnic at the park. Free admission.
Temple Terrace Fourth of July Parade – 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Family Recreation Complex, 6610 E Whiteway Drive and Gillette Avenue, Temple Terrace. The parade will continue south on Druid Hills Road, to Ridgedale Road and end at the Temple Terrace Little League fields. Free admission. The 2019 parade theme is “A Year of Healthy Living.”
Gulfport’s July Fourth Celebration – 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Gulfport Waterfront Art District, 3007 Beach Boulevard, South Gulfport. Enjoy a full day of activities starting with the Family Sand Sculpture Contest. An Independence Day Parade will begin at 6 p.m. and end with a fireworks display at 9 p.m. on Gulfport Beach along Shore Boulevard. Free admission.
Bartow's Annual 4th of July Celebration - The Bartow Adult Concert Band plays a free concert in Mosaic Park starting at 2:30 p.m., with a fireworks display beginning at 9:30 p.m.
Tampa Red White & Blue Festival – 3 to 8 p.m, Grand Central at Kennedy. The festival includes a color guard welcome, Uncle Sam on stilts, local artists, southern food and live music. Other activities include a best dressed contest, raffles, carnival games and an apple pie eating contest. There's also a "patriotic" paw walk, where you can show off your pups. Free admission with RSVP, $5 per adult without RSVP, and kids under 12 are free.
Sounds of Independence, Sarasota - Head to Sarasota Opera House to hear choral singers raise their voices for independence, 4 p.m.
Firecracker Smash'm Up! – 4 p.m. Hernando County Fairgrounds, 6436 Broad St., Brooksville. There will be a demolition derby, live music, crafts, games, bounce houses and pony rides.
Star Spangled Sparkman - Sparkman Wharf will be transformed into a patriotic summer party. Starting at 4 p.m. there will be a limbo contest, water ski show, and a Beach Boys cover band. Fireworks start at around 9 p.m. as part of Tampa's Boom by the Bay event.
Plant City's July 4th Celebration – Parking lot gates open 5:30 p.m.; stadium gates open 6 p.m. Plant City Stadium, 1810 East Park Road, Plant City. Various activities will be available on the stadium turf, pending weather restrictions, including inflatables, face painting, balloon art, Corn Hole bean bag toss, kid crafts, rock climbing wall, bungee jump and more. The 20 minute fireworks show is planned for 9:15 p.m. Free admission, $5 parking.
Selby Gardens All-American Cookout – 6 to 9:30 p.m. Selby Gardens, 900 S. Palm Avenue, Sarasota. Listen to live music from DJ Karolina Lira, savor the All-American favorites, take part in a variety of family and children’s activities and enjoy the fireworks.
Fireworks on the Greens – 6 to 9 p.m. Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club, 200 Inverness Ave. There will be food vendors, music and fireworks at 9:15 p.m. Free admission.
City of Largo 4th of July Celebration – 6 to 10 p.m. Largo Central Park, Largo Central Park Dr, Largo. There will be a pie eating contest, video game truck, face painters, balloon artists, family games inflatables and more. Fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
Fireworks Aboard the American Victory Ship – Climb about the historic World War II Steam Ship for musical entertainment, arts and crafts. 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. $13 per adult and $7 per child.
Tarpon Springs Independence Day Fireworks – 7:30 to 9 p.m. Howard Park, 1700 Sunset Drive, Tarpon Springs. End your day with a fireworks show in Tarpon Springs. Free admission.
Downtown St. Petersburg Fourth of July Fireworks – 8:30 p.m. St. Pete Downtown Waterfront. Fireworks can be seen all along Bayshore Drive, especially from Albert Whitted Park, North and South Straub Parks, North Shore, Elva Rouse Park and Flora Wylie Park. Free admission. This year there will be synchronized music you can listen to through a free app called J&M Displays.
Palmetto Independence Day Celebration – 6 to 10 p.m. Family-friendly fun including stilt walkers, live music and face painting. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Palmetto Bay Village Hall, 9705 East Hibiscus Street.
Siesta Key 4th of July Fireworks Display – 9 p.m. Visible along Siesta Key beach. Free admission.
Venice 4th of July Fireworks – Show from 9 to 10 p.m. on South Jetty Beach.
The Fish of July Fireworks Cruise – The Florida Aquarium is offering extended hours for the holiday. The aquarium will be open until the fireworks show ends. The cruise departs at 8 p.m. and returns at 10 p.m.
On the Air
Capitol Steps: Politics Takes A Holiday – 4th of July Edition 8-9 p.m.
This 4th of July, the Capitol Steps answer all of the burning questions: What rhymes with Pete Buttigieg? If Joe Biden and Donald Trump have a Twitter exchange at 3 a.m., how fast can the Capitol Steps write a song about it? And if Vladimir Putin appears shirtless on the radio, does it violate the FCC’s decency standards? Tune in to find out.
Jazz Heritage Series Special featuring the United State Air Force Band’s Airmen of Note 9 p.m.-Midnight
This year the annual special features outstanding guest artists – singer, Cyrille Aimee, NEA Jazz Master and pianist, Kenny Barron, and NEA Jazz Master and saxophonist, Branford Marsalis.
American Pieces throughout the day
All day long, Classical WSMR will feature American pieces of music to celebrate the 4th of July. Leonard Bernstein, Scott Joplin, Aaron Copland, Morton Gould, John Williams and Irving Berlin are among just a few in the great line-up we have to celebrate America's birthday.
Evening Masterwork featuring the Americana Symphony by Mark O’Connor 7 p.m.