Fourth of July is right around the corner. Here’s what’s happening so you can plan your star-spangled fun.
Family-friendly events this Fourth of July weekend
• Freedom Fest Block Party The River District Alliance hosts the annual Fourth of July block party featuring food, five outdoor stages with live music, a kids zone, a craft beer area and more. The block party takes place 5-11 p.m., but people can stay in downtown until 2 a.m. Popular Rolling Stones tribute band U.S. Stones performs on the main stage from 8-9:30 p.m. and 10-11 p.m. Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. and will be launched from the city pier. Free. Free parking everywhere but city parking garages. Lawn chairs and coolers are allowed in Centennial Park but not elsewhere. Downtown Fort Myers. 855- 732-3836 or riverdistrictevents.com
Fourth of July events include Stones tribute band
• July 4th Patriotism Pop Up Art Studio Local artist Leoma Lovegrove invites people to come and paint American flags with her. She’ll perform twice, painting a big American flag to patriotic tunes along with celebrity guests. The public can also show up and paint smaller flags. Those flags will come together in one big piece that benefits Lee County School District’s November student concert “Pride and Patriotism.” 3-10 p.m. Free admission. The Franklin Shops, 2200 First St., downtown Fort Myers. 283-6453 or leomalovegrove.com
• Great American Picnic Get an early start on Fourth of July with this eighth-annual event at Cape Harbour. The celebration includes live music, a farmers market, a pet parade (pets line up at 11:30 a.m.) and various contests — including best patriotic hat (all ages), water balloon tossing (ages 5-16), watermelon eating (ages 5-16) and best patriotic cupcake (all ages). There are no pet contests this year. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free admission. Cape Harbour, 5828 Cape Harbour Drive, Cape Coral. 470-2746. capeharbour.com
• Red, White and Boom Fourth of July Celebration The annual celebration starts at 4 p.m. with live entertainment and activities stretching from the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge to Del Prado Boulevard. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. near the foot of the bridge. Bands include country act Blackwater, blues act Mike Imbasciani and his Bluezrockerz, and nationally known country singer Kelleigh Bannen. 4-10:30 p.m. Free. There is also a 5K race at 7 a.m. on the bridge. Cape Coral Parkway in downtown Cape Coral, just east of Del Prado Boulevard. 573-3128 or capeboom.com
• Star-Spangled Bonita Celebration The annual celebration features children’s activities, eating contests, an old-fashioned bed race, a laser-light show/fireworks display after dark and live entertainment by The Sarah Hadeka Band and Railhead. To pre-register for the 5 p.m. bed race, call the YMCA at 275.9622 or visit swflymca.org/programs/races-events. There will also be a 5K Rotary Run at 7:30 a.m. and a parade along Old U.S. 41 Road at 9 a.m. To register for the run, visit bonitaspringsrotary.org or active.com. Star-Spangled Bonita takes place 4 p.m. to about 9:30 p.m. Riverside Park, 10450 Reynolds St., Bonita Springs. 949-6262 or cityofbonitasprings.org
FORT MYERS BEACH
• Fort Myers Beach Fireworks and Festival The annual Fourth of July parade starts at 10 a.m. and travels along Estero Boulevard from Oaks Street to Times Square. The Matanzas Bridge will be closed from 9:30 a.m.-noon and 9:30 p.m.-midnight. The festival starts at noon at Times Square and features live music and a hot-dog-eating contest at 2 p.m. The festival culminates with fireworks off the Pier from 9-9:30 p.m. Free. Parking is limited. Free trolley service is available all day. Times Square and Fort Myers Beach Pier, 1000 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach.
SAN CARLOS PARK
• San Carlos Park Fourth of July Parade The 24th annual parade kicks off at the Ace Hardware Plaza at 8:30 a.m. and travels east on Sanibel Boulevard to San Carlos Boulevard and continues on San Carlos to Three Oaks Park. Lineup begins at 7 a.m. Show your community spirit and enter. Free entry. The San Carlos Park Fire Department celebrates its 50th anniversary afterward at Three Oaks Park with bounce houses, live music, vendors and more. Ace Hardware Plaza, 18911 S. Tamiami Trail, San Carlos Park. To participate, call Bonnie at 878-7624 or e-mail [email protected].
• Naples Parade The two-hour annual parade starts at 10 a.m. and travels along Broad Avenue South, Third Street South and Fifth Avenue South. 10 a.m. to noon. Free. Downtown Naples. 213-7120 or FifthAvenueSouth.com
• Naples Fireworks A 20-minute fireworks display will be launched at 9 p.m. and choreographed to patriotic music simulcast on radio station 101.1 FM (WAVV). Naples residents are invited to bring chairs or blankets and pick a spot along the city beach from Lowdermilk Park to south of the pier for the best viewing spots in town. The fireworks can be seen all along the Naples beach. Personal use of sparklers or any fireworks is prohibited. Naples City Pier, 12th Avenue South, Naples.
• Fourth of July Celebration This event features an ice cream social from 4-6 p.m., followed by deejayed music from 7-8:30 p.m. Food and drinks will be sold. The evening ends with fireworks at 9:15 p.m. Bring lawn chairs and blankets. Free. Parking available at nearby establishments. Sugden Regional Park, 4284 Avalon Drive, Naples. 252-4000
• Fishermen’s Village Fourth of July Celebration and Freedom Swim The annual Freedom Swim features hundreds of swimmers and boaters. The 1.5-mile swim starts at 9 a.m. on the north end of the U.S. 41 bridge and ends at Fishermen’s Village. That’s followed by live bands, face painting and other activities starting at 11 a.m. with fireworks over Charlotte Harbor at 9 p.m. This year’s bands will be The Garbage Men (noon-3 p.m.) and The Kollections Band (5-9 p.m.). All events are free, including the Freedom Swim. Fishermen’s Village, 1200 W. Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda. 941-639-8721 or fishville.com
• 4th Fest This annual event features vendors, food, cold beer, bounce houses, rides, more than a dozen inflatable water slides of many sizes, and live music by Moccasin Wallow, Gator Nate and The Gladezmen, The Boogiemen Rock-n-Soul Revue and The Jack-Michael Band. 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Most rides and food require tickets. A $10 wristband give you all-day access to the water slides and bounce houses. $3 admission (free for ages 11 and younger). Laishley Park, 100 Nesbit Road, Punta Gorda. 941-637-5953 or puntagordafireworks.com
• Sanibel Island Independence Day Celebration The annual Fourth of July celebration starts with a 9:30 a.m. parade that travels along Periwinkle Way from Tarpon Bay Road to Casa Ybel Road. There will also be a fireworks celebration at The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club. The celebration takes place 6-9 p.m. and includes deejayed music, food, drinks and fireworks at dusk. Free admission ($10 parking). The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, 949 Sand Castle Road. 472-1080
• Fourth of July Fireworks Cruise Get “front-row” seats to view Sanibel Island’s fireworks aboard a 49-passenger catamaran. Cruise around San Carlos Bay while looking for dolphins and watching the sunset. 7:30-9:30 p.m. $49. Adventures in Paradise, 4341 Port Comfort Road, south Lee County. 472-8443 or adventureinparadiseinc.com
SOUTH FORT MYERS
• Fort Myers Miracle Fireworks Fireworks will explode over Hammond Stadium about 15 minutes after the 6:05 p.m. baseball game between The Miracle and The Charlotte Stone Crabs. Tickets are $8.50 and $10.50 ($1 cheaper if you buy in advance). Parking is $4. Hammond Stadium, 14400 Ben C. Pratt/Six Mile Cypress Parkway, south Fort Myers. 768-4210