Waters surrounding the Florida Keys sparkle and pop during the annual Independence Day celebrations along the chain of islands as families gather for beachside barbecues, parades and on-the-water fun that coincide with spectacular fireworks shows.
A Florida Keys fishing guide positions his angler to cast for a bonefish off Key Largo, Fla. Photo by Bob Krist/Florida Keys News Bureau
Key West‘s 32nd annual July 4 picnic to benefit Hospice of the Florida Keys and the Visiting Nurse Association is to take place at the luxurious Casa Marina Resort & Beach Club, A Waldorf Astoria Collection, located at 1500 Reynolds St. overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The celebration is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. with fireworks beginning at 9 p.m., courtesy of the Key West Rotary Club.
The traditional buffet offers hamburgers, hot dogs and all the fixings for $25 per adult, $10 per child between ages 4 and 12 and free for children age 3 and younger. Tickets for general admission (no meal) are $10 per person.
For an elegant alternative, attendees can choose reserved beachfront seats with first-class service and a lavish buffet. Tickets for the “best seats on the beach” section are $150 per person and include an upscale picnic buffet, drinks, private wait staff and gift bag.
Family-friendly games, cold drinks, live music and a silent auction round out the fun-filled family festivities. For information about the VNA/Hospice benefit picnic at the Casa Marina, call 305-294-8812 or visit www.4thofJulyKeyWest.com.
Since 1976, the Key West Rotary Club has spearheaded fundraising efforts to present its annual fireworks show, a community celebration of freedom. Staged adjacent to Higgs Beach at White Street Pier, at the intersection of White Street and Atlantic Avenue, the fireworks display is scheduled to start at approximately 9 p.m. Keys radio station Island 106.9 airs live patriotic music that is synchronized with the pyrotechnics.
During the afternoon revelers can purchase food, drinks, burgers and hot dogs from the Rotary Club’s booth across the street from the pier. Proceeds benefit the club’s scholarship funds. Visit www.keywestrotary.com.
Big Pine Community Park, 31009 Atlantis Drive, is the happening spot for the Big Pine & Lower Keys Rotary Club’s annual fireworks set to take place Sunday, July 3. Co-sponsored by the Big Pine & Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, attractions include vendors, food and ice-cold beverages, games and activities for both adults and kids.
An expanded fireworks show is scheduled to go off at nightfall or about 9 p.m. Admission is free but no coolers, pets or personal fireworks will be allowed. Gates open at 5 p.m. No rain date is scheduled. For more information call Sheila Cantler at 208-709-6400.
Marathon‘s free-admission Sombrero Beach is home to one of the Keys’ largest and longest fireworks displays. Families gather for a full day of beachside activities, beginning with a patriotic parade that starts at 10:30 a.m. and proceeds from Marathon High School on Sombrero Beach Road (mile marker (MM) 50 oceanside) to Sombrero Beach, where a daylong celebration features food, drink, kids’ crafts and entertainment.
After dark, the fireworks display caps the celebration. Hundreds of boaters line up in front of the beach for a preferred view of the festivities. For details, call the Marathon Chamber of Commerce at 305-743-5417 or visitwww.floridakeysmarathon.com.
Founders Park, MM 87 on Plantation Key, is the site of an old-fashioned annual Fourth of July celebration co-sponsored in part by the Spirit of Islamorada July 4 Celebration committee, the Islamorada Village of Islands and the Upper Keys Rotary Club.
Entertainment and activities for kids, teens, parents and dogs highlight the event from 6-9 p.m., followed by a fireworks show. Islamorada residents and visitors are welcome to attend.
Guests staying at participating resorts are to receive admission-free wristbands to enter the event at 6 p.m. Nonresidents not staying at a participating hotel can be admitted for a $10 tax-deductible donation.
The Upper Keys Reporter newspaper is to co-sponsor its annual Fourth of July parade, an old-fashioned community event, with the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce. The parade gets rolling at 10 a.m. from MM 98 along U.S. Highway 1 in Key Largo and ends at MM 100. Awards are to be presented to winning floats in categories including most original, most beautiful and best portrayal of theme. For details call 305-394-1404.
Key Largo’s bayside around MM 103 is where the nighttime action occurs. An annual fireworks display over Blackwater Sound provides an illuminating viewing experience whether from land or sea. The show is to take place at 9 p.m. Monday, July 4. The best bayside seating is at Sundowners and Señor Frijoles restaurants, Caribbean Club and Marriott Key Largo Bay Resort. Reservations are suggested because seating fills up early. For more information visitwww.keylargofireworks.com.