The U.S. may have lost their chance at the FIFA World Cup, but we're not going to let our recent defeat dampen our spirits. There's plenty going on this Friday (and before and after that) to ensure a fun, patriotic holiday.
American Victory Ship July Family FunFest
Celebrate the Fourth with your family aboard an old military steamship. The event offers a stupendous view of the Channelside fireworks with beer, wine and food for purchase, plus music and more. $7-$12. americanvictory.org
July 4th Fireworks Celebration
What’s more American than being at the mall on our nation’s birthday? The fun kicks off at 6 p.m. in the restaurant courtyard and inside the Westfield Brandon mall, near the food court. Fireworks at 9 p.m. 459 Brandon Town Center, Brandon. 813-661-6255. westfield.com/brandon
Brighthouse Celebrates America 2014
Clearwater’s big Independence Day at Coachman Park allegedly has Tampa Bay’s biggest fireworks. Gates open at 4 p.m., and from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., you can take the kids to see a Mascot Parade. From 5 to 9, the Kid’s Area will feature Radio Disney. At 6:45 p.m. there will be a reading of the Declaration of Independence. At 7:30 p.m., see a Mostly Pops Orchestra concert featuring the Mary and John Wilson. At 9:30 p.m., it all comes to a colorful end with the Spark the Sky fireworks display. Free. Fri., July 4, 4-10 p.m. Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater. 727-562-4700. myclearwater.com/events
Castile’s 4th of July Holiday Weekend Extravaganza
Hotel Zamora boutique hotel and its restaurant host parties with rooftop views of the St. Pete Beach fireworks, pool access, World Cup, local percussion marvel and DJ Ravi Drums, who will do his thing live, drink specials and more. Fri.- Sat., July 4-5, noon-11 p.m. 3701 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. 727-456-8900. castilerestaurant.com.
First Americana Music Fest in Hudson
The fundraising fest offers live music, vendors, art, crafts and a fireworks display. Proceeds go to the Angelus. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sat., July 5, at the Angelus, 12413 Hudson Ave., Hudson. $7.50; parking: $2. 727-856-1775.
The Florida Aquarium/Channelside
With an all-American dinner, family-friendly entertainment and fireworks at 9, the annual event stays true to the festive Fourth of July spirit. Admission to the Aquariun is $23.95, Seniors 60 and older: $20.95, Children under 12: $18.95, Children 2 & under: Free. Fri., July 4, 3-9:30 p.m. Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. 813-273-4000. flaquarium.org
Fourth of July Celebration at the Museum of Fine Arts
The party begins with the museum providing a great vantage point for the city’s fireworks display. Enjoy music by Dean Johanesen, art in the Hazel Hough Wing, gourmet barbecue, iced tea and soft drinks, and a Champagne toast, as well as a beer/wine cash bar. $38 for MFA members and $45 for non-members. Fri., July 4, 6:30 p.m., 255 Beach Drive N.E., St. Petersburg. Call 727-822-1032 for reservations or visit fine-arts.org
Safety Harbor 4th of July
One of the best shows in the area with live entertainment, food vendors and plenty of fun for the whole family. Get a good seat at the Marina or on the Safety Harbor Resort & Spa back lawn; goes off at exactly 9 p.m. 10 Veterans Memorial Lane, Safety Harbor, 727-724-1545. seesafetyharbor.com
St. Petersburg Independence Day Fireworks
The Burg knows how to party patriotically. Head to its scenic downtown bayfront for the city’s annual fireworks display. Fireworks start as early as 8:30 p.m. or as late as 10 p.m. depending on weather conditions. The fireworks will be visible all along the St. waterfront with prime viewing from Vinoy, Albert Whitted, North Straub, Spa Beach and South Straub Parks, which are all on Bayshore Drive. No alcohol or personal fireworks permitted. Free admission. Fri., July 4, 8:30 p.m. Vinoy Park, 701 Bayshore Drive N.E., St. Petersburg. stpeteparksrec.org
Independence Day Weekend at Busch Gardens
Enjoy rides, street parties, entertainment, dancing and more with guest headliners David Cassidy on Friday and Starship (featuring Mickey Thomas) on Saturday. Gwazi Park gates open at 6:30 p.m. Headliners take the stage at 8 p.m. Fireworks immediately follow the shows. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Busch Gardens, 3605 Bougainvillea Ave., Tampa. $69.95, $59.95 ages 3-9. 888-800-5447; buschgardens.com.
Dunedin Fourth of July Fireworks and Concert The North Pinellas city hosts an Independence Day party with a Parrot Head theme. Music by the De Lei’ed Parrots, and Shana Banana entertains for the kids. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Tropical attire requested. 6 p.m. Fri. Knology Park, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Free. 727-812-4531. dunedingov.com
Gulfport’s Fourth of July Celebration T
ake part in some all-American fun with a sand-sculpture contest 11:30 a.m., parade at 6 p.m., street vendors, entertainment, fireworks and more. July 4, details at gulfportflorida.us.
Kenneth City 4th of July Parade
The parade begins at 11 a.m. at 62nd Street and proceeds eastbound on 54th Avenue until it reaches 58th Street at which point it turns right and heads southbound on 58th Street coming to an end at the Kenneth City Community Hall (4600 58th Street). (Word is that the speed traps will still be in force, so they’d better not go a mile over 15.) celebratepinellaspark.com
Otok Ben-Hvar: Patriotic Firecracker Artist
The artist holds the world record for riding his lawnmower across America, climbed Mt. Washington on his knees to symbolize his struggle toward a college degree and has created works from strands of his own hair. In Tarpon Springs, you can see the Croatian immigrant/New Port Richey resident/ 75-year-old Army vet’s works using firecrackers and more. Leepa Rattner's exhibit of six of Ben-Hvar’s works, including a DNA self-portrait, a firecracker-inspired American flag, a three-dimensional flag made from tree branches and three firecracker performance paintings. $6 regular admission, $5 seniors. Free to children, students, and military personnel with ID. Through Aug. 24. Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art Auditorium, St. Petersburg College-Tarpon Springs Campus, Palm Harbor. 727-712-5762. spcollege.edu/central/museum
Largo 4th of July Celebration
The annual Largo Central Park event kicks off at 6 p.m. with DJ Phil Pasek of Fast Breaks Entertainment. At 8, 2014 Largo Teen Idol Winner Francesca Giorgianni performs, and at 9:15 the fireworks will be launched. 101 Central Park Drive, Largo. largo.com
Light up Channelside! 4th of July
The summer event series goes big for the holidays with live music, food trucks and 20 minutes of fireworks at 9 p.m. See them go off from Channelside Bay Plaza,Yacht StarShip, The Florida Aquarium, Harbour Island Bayshore Boulevard, Contanchobee Park, SS American Victory Ship, Marriott Waterside Hotel, the Tampa Bay History Center and St. Pete Times Forum. The TECO Line Streetcar will shuttle visitors from Ybor and Downtown. 615 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Fri., July 4, 5-10 p.m. facebook.com/TampaAttractions
Lutz Independence Day Parade
The patriotic parade includes units of firetrucks, bikes, slick cars, floats, candidates, scout troops, belly dancers and martial arts performers. The parade goes from Oscar Cooler Park to Lutz Lake Fern Road. 10 a.m. The Lutz Train Depot, U.S. 41 and West Lutz Lake Fern Road.
Madeira Beach Celebration
Head to Archibald Beach Park for free fireworks on the beach. Fri., July 4, 9 p.m. Festivities beforehand include live music and vendors selling food and drinks. 15100 Gulf Blvd., St. Petersburg.
Pasco County Sparklebration
The county north of Hillsborough and Pinellas is doing it up big with a folksy event that’s fitting for America’s birthday. Included: baby pageant at 3:30 p.m., Kids Bounce Houses & Jumpers, Pony Rides & Petting Zoo, Cow Chip Bingo, Blood Mobile, hot dog- and watermelon-eating contests, live music on two stages, a beef brisket cookoff at 5 p.m., the Dennis Lee show at 5:30 p.m. and skydivers at 6 p.m. $5 admission and $5 parking. July 4. Gates open at 3 p.m. Pasco County Fairgrounds, 36722 State Route 52, Dade City. pascocountyfair.com
Patriotic Picnic in the Park & Fireworks
Tarpon Springs hosts its annual daytime event at Craig Park 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and fireworks will be launched from Sunset Beach after dusk. Best viewing at Howard Park. ctsfl.us/events.
Red, White & Zoo Holiday Weekend
In honor of Independence Day, military personnel (active-duty, retirees and veterans) and up to three direct dependents are invited to visit the Zoo for free. The military member will need to show a Department of Defense photo ID at the Zoo’s ticket counter. Dependents may take advantage of the offer without their service member, though an adult with a valid military I.D. must accompany minors. Not valid with any other discounts or offers. No rain checks. On Sat. July 5 11 a.m.-2 p.m., kids can attend an All-American Teddy Bear Picnic. Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W. Sligh Ave., Tampa. 813-935-8552. LowryParkZoo.com
July 4th Weekend Celebration Yep, they’re open on July 4th with dinner 5-11 p.m. and a great view of downtown Tampa’s fireworks. On July 5, guest chef Matt Bolus of Nashville will tickle your taste buds, and on July 6 you can “Heal the Hangover” with the Recovery Sunday Brunch 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and a Pig Jam with Lance Howell of Big Shoals 5-8:30 p.m. 5137 N. Florida Ave., Tampa. thetamparefinery.com
St. Pete Beach Fireworks
Fireworks will go off from Upham Beach on Fri., July 4, around 9 p.m. stpetebeach.org.
Tampa Water Taxi Fireworks Viewing See the July 4 fireworks in Downtown Tampa from the water on one of the Tampa Water Taxi’s fleet of boats. The company departs from downtown (Convention Center and Harbour Island). BYOB permitted. $20 per person; limited seating. 8886658687.com
Treasure Island Beach Fireworks
Hit the shore for pyrotechnics on Fri., July 4, at 9 p.m. Gulf Boulevard and 107th Avenue, Madeira Beach. madeirabeachfl.gov
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Soccer fever is alive and well in Tampa Bay. Celebrate with our championship-winning NASL team as they take on their historic rivals. Match kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with a fireworks show afterwards. Ticket prices vary. Al Lang Stadium, 230 First St. S.E., St. Petersburg. rowdiessoccer.com
Temple Terrace’s Independence Day Parade and Fireworks
One of the best celebrations starts early with a parade on Fri., July 4, from 10 a.m. to noon. USF President Judy Genshaft will be grand marshal and the procession will start at the corner of Whiteway Drive and Gillette Avenue, and end at Temple Terrace Elementary School. Evening festivities will start at 7 p.m. on the first fairway of the Temple Terrace golf course, between Belle Terre and Woodmont avenues. There will be a variety of food vendors, live music by the Cypress Creek Dixieland Band, face painting and a performance by Masque Community Theatre. Fireworks at 9:15 p.m. Free parking is available in the vicinity of Bullard Parkway. templeterrace.com
Freedom Festival and Fireworks Show The third annual event features a bicycle-decorating contest, Little Miss and Mr. Firecracker Pageant, Watermelon Eating Contest 5-9 p.m. Thurs., July 3, at The Shops at Wiregrass. Registration is required for contests. Visit The Shops at Wiregrass Website to download the forms, theshopsatwiregrass.com