People who enjoy celebrating Independence Day will find plenty of choices both locally and across the Tampa Bay region this Fourth of July weekend.
As usual, the community of Lutz will have a slate of activities geared at giving families a taste of old-fashioned Fourth of July fun.
The day kicks off with a 5-k for runners, and a 1-mile family fun run and walk for those who are geared to life at a slower pace. Other festivities for the day include a flag-raising ceremony, a parade, booths, a cake auction and the election of the new honorary Lutz Guv’na.
If you want to start celebrating before July Fourth, you may enjoy a musical program on July 2 at 6 p.m., or July 3 at 10:30 a.m., at CrossPointe Church, 919 Debuel Road in Land O’ Lakes.
A new tribute is planned this year in Land O’ Lakes by the Wesley Chapel Noon Rotary Club, Land O’ Lakes Satellite.
The group will be displaying red, white and blue patriotic banners along U.S. 41, from July 1 through July 8, as a way to celebrate the nation’s independence and to honor military personnel who have given much to protect the country’s freedom.
Meanwhile, the community of Connerton, 21100 Fountain Garden Way in Land O’ Lakes, will host its National Celebration Independence Day Party on July 2 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Festivities will include live music, food, children’s activities, local crafters, bungee jumping, rock wall climbing, a beer garden and fireworks.
Last year, more than 3,000 turned out, and event organizers are expecting even more this year. People are encouraged to bring out blankets and lawn chairs. The fireworks are scheduled at 9 p.m.
Meanwhile, on the east side of Pasco County, organizers of Sparklebration are gearing up for a full day of festivities at the Pasco County Fairgrounds, at 36722 State Road 52 in Dade City. Gates open on July 4 at 4 p.m.
Admission is $5 for those age 12 and older; parking is $5. Eating contests, bounce houses, petting zoo, games, skydivers, live entertainment, and fireworks which are expected to begin at 9:15 p.m.
Skydive City, 4241 SkyDive Lane in Zephyrhills, will be staging an event that includes live music, food and a fireworks display. Gates will open at 6 p.m.
Admission will be $5 for those 12 and older, and free for those younger than age 12.
Festivities include live music from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Barbecued meals will be available for $10 a plate. Fireworks are planned for 9 p.m. Bring your own chair, blanket or cushion.
Those looking for something to do earlier during the holiday weekend may want to check out Tunes on the Lagoon at Tampa Premium Outlets, at 2300 Grand Cypress Drive in Lutz.
The concert, featuring Summer Train, will be on July 2 and will kick off a series of concerts scheduled for every Saturday in July, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The July 2 event also will feature deals from retailers, family entertainment and food trucks.
Meanwhile, those who have attended Freedom Fest and watched the fireworks at The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel in previous years, should make alternate plans this year.
The regional shopping mall decided to stop hosting the festivities because the event outgrew the venue, said Greg Lenners, general manager at The Shops at Wiregrass.
Lenners said he always knew that would happen at some point, but he didn’t expect it to be so soon.
“It was logistically impossible,” Lenners said, noting safety was the paramount concern.
With so many people and so much traffic, the regional mall didn’t want to take a chance on someone getting hurt, he said.
Some events happening in the local area:
- Celebrate America, CrossPointe Family Church, 919 Debuel Road in Lutz, July 2 at 6 p.m., and July 3 at 10:30 a.m. Program includes the Celebration Choir, the Kidzstreet Children’s Choir, Salute to the Military multimedia productions, the CrossPointe Dance Company, your favorite patriotic music and a presentation of colors by the North Tampa Lutz Cadet Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol.
- Nation Celebration Independence Day Party at Connerton, 21100 Fountain Garden Way in Land O’ Lakes, July 2 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Festivities include games, slides, bounce houses, a balloon artist and face painter. There also will be live music, bungee jumping, rock wall climbing, crafters, a beer garden and a food truck rally, as well as fireworks at 9 p.m., sponsored by Benedetto’s Italian Ristorante.
- Lutz Independence Day, at 101 W. Lutz Lake Fern Road in Lutz. Festivities kick off with a 5k, followed by a 1-mile fun run. Other highlights include a baking contest, a flag raising ceremony, booths, an old-fashioned community parade, the swearing-in of the new Lutz Guv’na, and a cake and pie auction. The event is slated to start at 8 a.m.
- Sparklebration, Pasco County Fairgrounds, 36722 State Road 52 on July 4. Gates open at 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for those 12 and older; parking is $5. Eating contests, bounce houses, petting zoo, games, skydivers, live entertainment and fireworks which are expected to begin at 9:15 p.m.
- Fourth of July at Skydive City, 4241 Skydive Lane in Zephyrhills. Gates open at 6 p.m. Admission is $5 for those 12 and older. Live music, barbecued meals for purchase and fireworks at 9 p.m.
Here are some events happening across the region:
- 4th of July at the Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Old Water St., in downtown Tampa on July 4 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is $5. Costumed re-enactors will be representing several eras of American military history.
- Fourth of July Celebration at Channelside Bay Plaza, 615 Channelside Drive in downtown Tampa, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Live music, entertainment and family friendly activities.
- Fourth of July at the Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive. Enjoy the Splash Pad and extended hours at the aquarium, which will be open until 9:30 p.m. Fireworks are scheduled for 9 p.m.
- Clearwater Celebrates America at Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., in Clearwater. A free family celebration featuring music, family activities, live music, food and drink for sale, local vendors, and fireworks starting between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
- Fireworks Across the Bay Celebration in St. Pete, 612 2nd Ave., N.E. Fireworks start at 9 p.m., at St. Pete’s Spa Beach Park.
Published June 29, 2016