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Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014
Things To Do

July 4 fireworks, fun around Tampa Bay


Published:   |   Updated: July 4, 2013 at 11:40 AM

The Fourth of July has always been a special holiday. You don't need to buy gifts, cook a turkey, hide eggs or bake a cake - unless you want too. All you have to do is go outside and watch and listen.

The Fourth of July is sack races, watermelons, barbecues, fireworks at dusk and firecrackers all day. It's warm nights, unfurled flags, sparklers, lawn chairs in the park and exploding skies. It's a holiday we share with each other, yet it's a holiday that is uniquely our own. It's our Independence Day.

Find a place to celebrate that freedom below:

HILLSBOROUGH

Fireworks Cruise: Yacht Starship will host two cruises - one out of Channelside in downtown Tampa and another from their satellite dock in Clearwater - which include an open bar and buffet and fireworks viewing; 6:30 p.m. Thursday; $89.95; Yacht StarShip, 603 Channelside Drive, Tampa; (813) 223-7999; 7 p.m. Thursday; $89.95; Yacht StarShip, 25 Causeway Blvd., Clearwater; (813) 223-7999 and yachtstarship.com

Fireworks at Channelside: The fireworks display will be launched off a barge in Garrison Channel and will be easily seen from several locations, including Channelside Bay Plaza, The Florida Aquarium, the American Victory Ship, Yacht Starship, Cotanchobee Park, the Marriott Waterside, the Forum and Harbour Island; 9 p.m. Thursday; free; Channelside Bay Plaza, 615 Channelside Drive; Tampa; (813) 223-4250

History Center Offers Free Admission: The Tampa Bay History Center offers free admission and extended hours on Independence Day, with uniformed re-enactors representing the Civil War, the Seminole War, the Spanish-American War and World War II soldiers, sailors and citizens; at night, visitors can watch the Channelside fireworks from Cotanchobee Park; 10 a.m. Thursday; free; Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Old Water St. Tampa; (813) 228-0097 and www.tampabay historycenter.org

Temple Terrace 4th of July Celebration and Parade: The annual community parade celebrating the U.S. birthday will begin at 10 a.m. at the corner of Gillette and Whiteway roads and end on Ridgedale by the Little League fields; at 9 p.m. fireworks will blast off from the Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club golf course where entertainment will be provided; (813) 989-7004 and www.templeterracechamber.com

Red, White and Zoo: In honor of Independence Day, active duty and retired military personnel and up to three direct dependents are invited to visit the Lowry Park Zoo for free on Thursday; show a Department of Defense photo ID at the zoo ticket window; dependents can take advantage of the offer without their service member, but an adult with a valid military ID must accompany minors; 9:30 a.m. Thursday; Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 West Sligh Ave.; (813) 935-8552 and www.lowryparkzoo.com

Brandon Fourth of July Blast: Live music, face painting, a bounce house for kids, a $1,000 raffle and fireworks; 5 p.m. Thursday; Free: Westfield Brandon; 459 Brandon Town Center; Brandon

Glazer Children's Museum: Discounted ticket prices and a patriotic celebration will be part of the festivities at the museum; $4; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday; 110 West Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa; (813) 443-3861 and glazermuseum.org

Sail Pavilion Celebration: Making the Fourth of July holiday a three-day celebration, the Sail Pavilion - adjacent to the Tampa Convention Center - will offer live entertainment Thursday and July 5 and 6 during the Red Bull Wake Open practice sessions from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday; on July 5, the Open, which features 36 riders from seven countries, will run from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., followed by fireworks over the Hillsborough River; on July 6, the Open will continue from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sail Pavilion, 333 S. Franklin St., Tampa; (813) 373-1193; www.tampaconventioncenter.com

Plant City Fourth: Face painting, volleyball, inflatables, a tug-of-war, live music, food vendors and a fireworks show at 9:15 p.m. are all part of the celebration at Plant City Stadium; 6 p.m. Thursday; free admission, $5 parking; Plant City Stadium, 1810 East Park Rd., Plant City; (813) 659-4200; www.plantcitygov.com

Victory Ship: The SS American Victory, one of only four operational World War II merchant steamships in the United States, will celebrate July 4 with its annual Family Funfest and Fireworks; events include an American Heroes Costume Contest, entertainment, refreshments and a view of the fireworks from aboard ship; 6 p.m. Thursday; $12 adults, $7 (ages 4 to 12), $10 military; 705 Channelside Drive, Tampa; (813) 228-8766; www .americanvictory.org

A Sun City Fourth: Sun City Center is offering a pancake breakfast at the SCC Community Hall (1910 Pebble Beach South) from 7 a.m. to noon on Thursday, followed by live music and a barbecue starting at 4:30 p.m. and ending with a fireworks show; Community Association Campus, 1009 N. Pebble Beach Blvd; (813) 633-1523

PINELLAS

Waterfront Arts celebration: Activities include a kids' fishing derby, a family sand-sculpture contest and a variety of kid-friendly activities; also view a variety of locally handcrafted items; 2 p.m. Thursday; Historic Waterfront Arts District, 3129 Beach Blvd. S., Gulfport; (727) 322-5217

Cowhead's Brew Ha-Ha Fourth: Comedian Ralphie May is the headliner for a July Fourth celebration at The Mahaffey Theater. Things get started with a 5 p.m. pre-party and BBQ on the Plaza followed by a 7:30 p.m. comedy show, fireworks and an outdoor concert with Pitbull Toddler; 5 p.m. Thursday; $20 to $47.50; The Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S., St. Petersburg; (727) 892-5798; www.themahaffey.com

Clearwater Celebrates America: A patriotic concert, children's games, vendors and fireworks starting at 9:30 p.m.; event starts at 4 p.m. Thursday; free; Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater

Largo Fourth of July: Food and beverages available for purchase from vendors and entertainment and activities for all ages; on-site parking available for $5/vehicle or visitors may park and walk from either Largo Middle School or Largo High School; free; 6 p.m. Thursday; Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Dr. (727) 586-7415

Downtown St. Petersburg Fireworks: The fireworks will go off on Spa Beach and visitors can view them the city's waterfront parks and The Pier approach, but not the Pier building; 9 p.m. Thursday; free; Spa Beach at the Pier, 615 Second Ave., N. St. Petersburg; (727) 893-7465

Gulfport Centennial Celebration: A fishing derby, car show, arts and crafts, sand sculptures, vendors, live music, a parade and fireworks at 9 p.m.; 8 a.m. Thursday; free; Gulfport Beach Boulevard; (727) 893-1118

Fireworks at the Museum of Fine Arts: A barbecue buffet, live music and prime seating in the glass conservatory of the Museum of Fine Arts for the fireworks display are all part of the package; 6:30 p.m., Thursday; $45 non-members, $35 museum members; Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Dr. N.E., St. Petersburg; (727) 822-1032 and fine-arts.org

Treasure Island's Fourth Of July Celebration: A beer truck, food and crafts vendors, children's activities and live music by Horses Wild, are part of this July 4th event at Sloppy Joe's; fireworks start at 9 p.m.; noon on Thursday; free; Sloppy Joe's, 10650 Gulf Blvd, Treasure Island; (727) 367-1600

Mad Beach Fourth of July Festival: A hula-hoop contest, food and beverages, live music for most of the day, and a kid's area featuring Aqua Bubbles are all part of the festivities; party is free but there will be a $10 parking fee (for the day) with a free shuttle; 8 a.m. Thursday; Archibald Park, 15100 Gulf Blvd., Madeira Beach

A Safety Harbor Fourth: The annual Fourth of July parade starts at 10 a.m. with cars, bands and floats marching down Main Street; afternoon festivities include food vendors, live entertainment and a family play area at the Safety Harbor City Marina; free; 10 a.m. (parade), 5 p.m. Thursday; Safety Harbor City Marina, 110 Veterans Memorial Lane, Safety Harbor; (727) 723-2822 or (727) 724-1572

Tarpon Springs Patriotic Picnic in the Park: Fourth of July events include hot dog eating contests, outrigger rides, a watermelon-seed spitting contest, sack races, live music and a water slide; fireworks off Sunset Beach at dusk can be best viewing from Fred Howard Park Beach (Sunset Beach boat ramp will be closed); 10 a.m. Thursday; free; Craig Park, 5 Beekman Way, Tarpon Springs; (727) 942-5628

PASCO

Freedom Festival at Wiregrass: Beauty pageants for kids, a watermelon-eating contest, live music, vendors, and a bicycle-decorating contest followed by fireworks at 9 p.m.; 5 p.m. Wednesday; free; The Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Drive, Zephyrhills

Sparklebration: The annual celebration includes food, entertainment, hot-dog and watermelon eating contests along with sky divers, bounce houses, waterslides, face painting, a baby pageant and an Elvis Tribute; 12:30 p.m. Thursday, fireworks scheduled for 9:15 p.m.; $5; Pasco County Fairgrounds, 36722 SR 52; Dade City; (352) 567-6678; sparklebration.com

Bikes on the Bayou: The Big Ragoo emcees this event of food and drink vendors, a bike show with fireworks at 9 p.m., entertainment includes Southern Silk from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Lost and Found from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., noon Thursday; free admission; Gill Dawg Marina, 5419 Treadway Drive, Port Richey; (813) 597-0360

Millers Bayou Fireworks Show: After a year layoff, the fireworks are back at Port Richey Waterfront Park, where the fireworks will be displayed over the water; limited parking available; 9 p.m. Thursday; free; 8119 Old Post Road, Port Richey; (727) 816-1900

CITRUS

Patriotic Evening in Inverness: A July 3 celebration of freedom at Liberty Park on Lake Henderson includes food vendors, fireworks and activities for kids; 5 p.m. Wednesday; free; Liberty Park, 212 N. Apopka Ave., Inverness; (352) 726-2611

POLK

Red, White and Kaboom: Grab a blanket and pick your spot around Lake Mirror for the annual July 4th celebration that includes live music from Samuel Bullock & the Soul Alliance, food and drink vendors and fireworks at 9:15 p.m.; event begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday; Lake Mirror, 121 S. Lake Ave., Lakeland; www.lakelandgov.net

A LEGOLAND Red, Brick and Boom: The theme park will celebrate the holiday with four days and nights of family fun and fireworks. On Thursday, there will be backyard games on the Mansion Lawn, meet and greet with LEGO friends at the Fun Town Plaza, a party with DJ Renee, and a fireworks finale that turns fireworks into thousands of exploding LEGO bricks; 10 a.m. Thursday; $56 to $64; One LEGOLAND Way, Winter Haven; (877) 350-5346 and florida.legoland.com

Lake Alfred's July 4th Celebration: The city of Lake Alfred will celebrate the holiday with a Little Miss and Little Mr. Lake Alfred Pageant, a bass fishing tournament, car show, a bounce house, slide and train rides for the kids; 10 a.m. Thursday; Free; Lake Alfred's Lion's Park, 175 N. Nekoma Ave., Lake Alfred; mylakealfred.com

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