Florida Keys Boaters, Beachgoers and Barbecue Lovers Celebrate Independence Day
Florida Keys waters sparkle during the annual Independence Day celebrations while families and friends gather throughout the Keys for beachside barbecues, picnics, parades, on-the-water fun and spectacular fireworks shows.
Now in its 31st year, Key West’s annual July 4 picnic to benefit Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of the Florida Keys takes place at the luxurious Casa Marina Resort & Beach Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, located at 1500 Reynolds St. overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The celebration is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. with fireworks starting 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 younger than age 4. General admission (no meal) tickets are $10 and include watermelon, popcorn and soft drink.
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.
Live music, a silent auction and lots of children’s games round out the fun-filled family festivities. For information about the VNA/Hospice benefit picnic at the Casa Marina, call 305-320-0667 or visit www.4thofjulykeywest.com.
An All-American celebration of Florida’s official state pie is to be staged in Key West Thursday through Saturday, July 2-4. Scheduled highlights of the Key Lime Festival include a Key lime pie-eating contest, a wacky talent show and samplings of Keys-distilled rum flavored with the tangy lime. Events are held throughout Key West at locations including Sloppy Joe’s, the Green Parrot Bar and the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon. Visit www.keylimefestival.com.
The Big Pine & Lower Keys Rotary Club is set to host the annual Independence Day Fireworks at the Big Pine Community Park, located at 31009 Atlantis Road. Co-sponsored by the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, activities include live music headlined by Haywire, food and ice-cold beverages accompanied by games and activities for both adults and kids. An expanded fireworks show is set 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. and a rain date, if necessary, is scheduled for Sunday, July 5. For information, call 305-872-2411.
The July 4 weekend in the Middle Keys is to be highlighted by the Marathon Super Boat Grand Prix, with events scheduled Friday through Sunday, July 3-5. Race day is Sunday, when powerful high-speed boats are to show their muscle on a course parallel to the Marathon shoreline near the world-famous Seven Mile Bridge. Racing fans can enjoy free admission to view the boats and meet drivers and crews from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, through Sunday at the Race Village dry pits at the Florida Keys Marathon Airport, mile marker (MM) 51 bayside. Wet pits, located at the event’s headquarters at the marina docks behind the Hyatt Place Faro Blanco Resort & Yacht Club, 1996 Overseas Highway, are to be open to the public Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitwww.superboat.com.
Also in Marathon, families can gather for a full day of activities beginning with a patriotic parade at 10:30 a.m. The route goes from Marathon High School on Sombrero Beach Road, MM 50 oceanside, to free-admission Sombrero Beach, where a holiday celebration features food, drink, kids’ crafts, music and entertainment. Capping off the day is one of the Keys’ largest and longest fireworks displays, scheduled to start just after dark. 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.
The popular Spirit of Islamorada July 4 celebration is to be held at Founders Park, MM 87 on Plantation Key. Hosted by the Village of Islamorada and the Upper Keys Rotary Club, the event features entertainment, food and drinks for kids, teens, adults — and even dogs. The party is to run 6-9:30 p.m., followed by a fireworks show. An admission fee of $10 is to be charged to nonresidents. For information, call Founders Park at 305-853-1685.
Independence Day at Islamorada’s Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina at Holiday Isle, MM 84 oceanside, is expected to include live music at the world-famous Tiki Bar along with food, fun and frolicking. Revelers can party tiki-style into the night. For a holiday weekend lineup, visit www.holidayisle.com.
Along Key Largo’s bayside, located around MM 104, is where the Independence Day action happens. An annual fireworks display over Blackwater Sound provides an illuminating viewing experience whether seen by land or by sea. The show is scheduled for Saturday, July 4, at 10 p.m., weather permitting. The best bayside seating is at Sundowners and Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill restaurants, Caribbean Club and Marriott Key Largo Bay Resort. Reservations are suggested because seating fills up early. For more information, visit www.keylargofireworks.com or call 305-451-4502.
The 40th annual Fourth of July parade co-sponsored by the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce is themed “Red, White and True.” The parade gets rolling at 10 a.m. from the parking lot at Anthony’s Clothing Store, MM 98.2 on the center median of U.S. Highway 1 in Key Largo, and ends at MM 100. Awards are to be presented for most original entry, most beautiful and best portrayal of the theme.
Following the parade will be a free-admission old-fashioned community picnic at the Key Largo Community Park. The chamber, with The Reporter weekly newspaper and the help of their sponsors, are to give away free hot dogs and sodas, followed by the float award presentation. Parking is free. For more information, call 305-451-1414 (picnic and sponsorship) or 305-852-3216 (parade).