It’s the only fireworks show in Zephyrhills.
And, it promises to offer wholesome family fun.
The 2017 Zephyrhills SummerFest is slated for June 24 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Zephyr Park, 38116 Fifth Ave.
Besides offering free admission and parking, the event is pet friendly, too.
However, alcohol sales will not be allowed.
Entering its third year, Zephyrhills SummerFest is the only 4th of July celebration in the city, promoting “summer, families and our great country.”
Arguably, its biggest attraction is a 30-minute fireworks show, which is set to begin sharply at 9 p.m.
The vibrant display — by Patriot Fireworks—is set over Zephyr Lake, the park’s centerpiece pond.
Besides nighttime fireworks, there are loads of daytime activities aimed at keeping families entertained on the last Saturday in June.
Alongside dozens of food and business vendors, there’s a watermelon-eating contest and dance contest, plus a water balloon toss, couples’ relay race and sack race.
For youngsters, there’s a designated Kid’s Area featuring multiple bounce houses, waterslides and face painting.
Zephyr Park’s full playground and wet zone also will be open for children.
Between the family friendly entertainment, DJ Express will be spinning upbeat tunes all afternoon, at the Zephyr Park gazebo.
Patrons are advised to bring lawn chairs or blankets, and arrive early for prime parking spots.
Sponsored by the City of Zephyrhills, the festival is organized by Clearwater-based Simply Events Inc.
The company organizes several events in the city, including the popular Zephyrhills Pie Festival, Zephyrhills Artsy Farmer’s Market and Snowbird Palooza.
Drew Cecere, co-owner of Simply Events, said the idea for Zephyrhills SummerFest stemmed from the city not having a fireworks show for “many, many years.”
“There wasn’t a whole lot that went on in the area for families when we started doing events out here,” said Cecere, who has relatives living in Zephyrhills.
“We make a full event out of it.”
While the festival still lacks major corporate sponsors, Cecere said attendance increased substantially last year, with thousands of people turning out —especially for the 30-minute firework display.
“The first year was good, the second year…was really amazing,” he said.
“A lot of people on Facebook videotaped it, and were just shocked by how long the fireworks show was.”
The event also benefits the Samaritan Project of Zephyrhills, a nonprofit organization that assists the short-term financial needs of people and families.
The local organization will get a portion of the funds generated through the festival’s bounce houses, and auctions and raffles.
“We love to give back,” Cecere said. “In every event that we do, we have a local nonprofit involved. This event, we have to do fundraising because there’s no entry (fees), there’s no parking (fees), there’s no alcohol sales, and that’s normally the stuff that would go to a nonprofit.”
Should inclement weather arise, deciding whether to reschedule the festival will “be played by ear” between city officials and event organizers, Cecere said.
“We’re going take every effort to make sure it goes on (June 24),” Cecere said.
“If it’s a downpour that just lasts thirty minutes, we’ll just wait and do the fireworks thirty minutes later. But, if it’s like a long couple hours’ storm where we just can’t hold it, then we would have to get with the city and figure out a new date.”
Considering the expenses for fireworks alone, Cecere added the show “definitely would be something that would be rescheduled” in case of thunderstorms or heavy rain.
Regardless, the festival doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon, as its attendance increases and support from the city continues, Cecere said.
For information about Zephyrhills SummerFest, visit SimplyEventsFL.com.
Published June 21, 2017