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Natural Awakenings Sarasota / Manatee / Charlotte

Suncoast Fourth of July Celebrations Span Palmetto to Englewood

Jul 01, 2014 03:05AM ● By Suzi Harkola

Wherever you live in Southwest Florida, there’s plenty of July 4th action with fireworks over the water and parades and special events more inland. Most events are held on the special day, so here’s what to check out. Bring your beach chairs (no coolers) and maybe an umbrella, and relax to the spectacle of celebration that our area embraces.

     In Sarasota, the star of the evening is the spectacular fireworks display anchored at Marina Jack on the Bayfront. Starting around 9 p.m., the event benefits Suncoast Charities for Children.

     For Island dwellers, the Siesta Key fireworks display is guaranteed to dazzle. You’ll want to get to Siesta Beach early to find a good spot to watch the display north of the volleyball courts, but you’ll still have a great view from Siesta Beach to Crescent Beach, on your boat in the Gulf or from the Intracoastal.

     One of the most beautiful venues for watching the sky- and eye-popping explosions is from the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens 811 S. Palm Avenue, Sarasota. Events start at 6 p.m. Cost is $17 for members, $20 for non-members, free for kids 11 and under. No seating provided, so make sure you’re comfortable with your own chairs or blankets for the evening’s activities.

     Live closer Venice? The action happens at the South Venice Jetty, but great views are in store in Venice Beach, Nokomis Beach, or from the water. Fireworks will start around 9 p.m.

     Bradenton’s celebration is July 3, kicked off with the Marauder’s Baseball game, live music and fireworks following the game at McKechnie Field, 1611 9th Street West. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $6 - $8. There will be a Fireworks display over the Manatee River after dark on July 4.

     Anna Maria Island follows Bradenton’s lead with activities on the 3rd. The Beachhouse Restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N, Bradenton Beach, features a VIP dinner and party with fireworks after dark. And the Sandbar Restaurant, 100 Spring Avenue, will also host limited-seating dinner and fireworks.


Everyone Loves a Parade, Music, Food and Fun

The Annual Freedom Fest Parade on Longboat Key begins at 9 a.m. at Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road on July 4. Kids are encouraged to dress up and walk with their pets. More activities for the whole family will be held next to Town Hall, in Bicentennial Park 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. Call 941-383-2466 for more information. 

     Anna Maria Island’s annual 4th of July Parade starts at 10 a.m. at Coquina Beach, with marchers covering the entire length of Anna Maria Island to Bay Front Park.

     In South Sarasota County, Englewood’s Cajun Festival has been renamed to the Firecracker Festival. Daylong activities with food and drink, and live entertainment, lead up to fireworks over Lemon Bay. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. Dearborn Street, Englewood.

     The Sarasota Sailing Squadron's Liberty Day Regatta and Family Festival takes place from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. 1717 Ken Thompson Parkway, on City Island. Call 941-388-2355 for more information.

     A quick drive to Palmetto on July 4 will put you in the same venue as American Idol winner Scotty McCreery. The concert is free, and will be held around 7 p.m. at the Sutton Park Pavilion, 1006 6th St W. After the concert, watch fireworks over the Manatee River Park.

     It’s North Port’s 11th annual Freedom Festival at North Port High School Stadium at 6400 W. Price Blvd, starting at 6:00 p.m. with fun and live entertainment for the entire family, with fireworks after dark. Bring your blanket or folding chair.


See more on all of these Suncoast Fourth of July events at


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