As we head into the 4th of July weekend, thoughts of barbeques, beach gatherings, and lightning-fast boats are on the minds of locals who are also celebrating the cherished freedoms that being an American affords. Raising a toast to “Old Glory” is a must as we watch with patriotic pride as her stars and stripes gently sway in the wind, reminding us that this flag is a symbol of hope to so many. Our founding fathers fought so that we may enjoy the liberties that our country provides. In an age where the threat of terrorism, oppressed people and political divisiveness seem to be the norm, let’s give thanks and feel pride for the land of the free and the home of the brave and look to a bright and hopeful future.
For many locals, the Independence Day holiday means the Gulf Coast shores will get ready to rumble as the 32nd Annual Sarasota Power Boat Grand Prix Festival makes its way back to town. A week full of activities in conjunction with the festival kicked off on Monday, and festivities will culminate on Friday with a Boats on Main Downtown Block Party. Come on down to see who is driving these uber fast boats and take a few minutes to talk with the race teams. Live music, food and refreshments will be available for purchase. Saturday’s events will take place along Lido Beach with the P1 Superstock and Aqua X qualifying races along with the Powerboat Open Practice. Sunday’s race categories will include Powerboat, Supertock and Aqua X. VIP viewing for both days will be at the Sandcastle Resort. Dry pits will be open to the public at the Van Wezel parking lot. A Bayfront fireworks extravaganza will be held on July 4, wrapping up an exciting week of Sarasota racing action. Another great hometown tradition, Sarasota residents enjoy, the artsy downtown, and love to feel the bay winds blowing as they watch spectacular fireworks light up the night sky. Arrive early as this event will draw thousands. Fireworks will begin around 9:00 p.m.
If you’re looking to enjoy fireworks on the beach, the 26th Annual Siesta Key Fireworks will be blasting off over the Gulf of Mexico and prime viewing can be found anywhere along Crescent Beach and the Intracoastal Waterway. Many people enjoy the fireworks from out on the water so if you have access to a boat, jump on and come get the best seat in the house!
Folks in the Venice area can enjoy fireworks along the beach as a grand explosion of firework frenzy will be shot off from the South Venice Jetty. Thousands of people line the shores of Nokomis and Venice Beaches so get there early to claim a comfortable spot. Fireworks begin around Sunset. North Port also puts on a great show in South County where people from all over the area enjoy a family festival with bounce houses, food and refreshments beginning at 6:00 p.m. and fireworks starting around Sunset.
If you’d like something unique to do on the weekend, check out Sarasota Jungle Gardens. They are offering a “buy one get one free” entry special on July 2, 3, and 4. Beat the heat and head into the cool jungle to explore over 10 acres of native plants, feed flamingos and learn about Florida’s animals. Another option for a less-crowded venue to view the fireworks might be Selby Gardens. A 4th of July All American Barbeque will be held at Selby featuring great eats by four premiere barbeque vendors, custom crafted cocktails and live music right on Sarasota Bay. Price for this event is $30 for members and $35 for non-members.
Whichever way you will be enjoying this great American holiday, we hope you’ll be wearing your red, white, and blue to show your patriotic pride. We hope family and friends will be a part of your holiday and that you celebrate in style, but responsibly. From the Sarasota Post to you and yours Happy 4th of July!
Photos: Have a Great 4th of July…or else, courtesy of Faith Goble on Flickr, commercial use allowed
Fireworks courtesy of jdmoar on Flickr, commercial use allowed