Area events to help you celebrate the Fourth of July weekend.
SATURDAY, JULY 1
BRADENTON MARAUDERS INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION
What’s more American than baseball? Watch the Bradenton Marauders take on the Florida Fire Frogs in America's favorite pastime to launch the holiday weekend. Gates open at 4:30 p.m., and the game begins at 6:30 p.m. at LECOM Park. The event features a kids zone with a face painter and balloon artist, a patriotic-themed baseball jersey auction and a free shirt giveaway to the first 1,500 fans to enter the stadium. A fireworks show will follow the game. Tickets are $6-$10. Call 747-3031.
‘AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL:’ A PATRIOTIC CELEBRATION FEATURING BRIAN GURL
If you’re looking for something to do before the barbecue and fireworks this Fourth of July weekend, join Brian Gurl on a “patriotic adventure” honoring American music legends such as Elvis Presley, Woody Guthrie and Irving Berlin. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. at The Players Centre Main Stage. Tickets are $20 to $25. Call 365-2494.
NATHAN BENDERSON PARK FIREWORKS SHOW
The Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates, Inc. is starting a new tradition the weekend before Fourth of July with a fireworks display over the water at Nathan Benderson Park. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. and the event runs until 9:30 p.m. The celebration is a family friendly affair with music, games, food and aquatic equipment rentals such as kayaks and paddleboards, which will be available from 5-7 p.m. Guests can bring their own food and beverages, but no glass. Admission is free and parking is $5. Call 487- 1917.
ANNUAL FIRECRACKER 400 RACE
Hit the bay in your squadron PHRF boats and one-design fleets for a pursuit-style race with the slower boats starting first. Registration is at 11:30 a.m. at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron, 1717 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota. Must have a valid WFPHRF certificate to race in the PHRF Fleet. Entry is $10 per boat. Unlike last year, the race is the Saturday before the Fourth of July, but there will be a casual family social at the squadron on Independence Day with a family sail, cookout and viewing of the bayfront fireworks show. Email [email protected].
TUESDAY, JULY 4
LONGBOAT KEY ANNUAL FREEDOM FEST AND HOT DIGGITY DOG! PARADE
This classic Longboat Key patriotic affair begins at 9 a.m. and runs until 11 a.m. The parade begins at the Longboat Key Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road and ends at Bicentennial Park next door, which is why it’s earned the nickname of the world’s shortest parade with its quarter-mile route. Assemble your best red, white and blue ensemble and deck out your bike, wagon and/or the dog, while you’re at it, to show your patriotism. The fun continues after the parade at Bicentennial Park, where activities, food and refreshments will be available, and the Rotary Club of Longboat Key will announce the winners of its annual Hot Diggity Dog! Parade costume contest. The Longboat Key Garden Club will also sponsor a butterfly release. Free. Call 383-2466.
ANNA MARIA ISLAND PRIVATEERS 4TH OF JULY PARADE
Blimey! It’s all hands on deck for this processional of Anna Maria Island buccaneers (AKA local philanthropists) and area businesses and organizations in honor of Independence Day. The parade run from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Coquina Beach, 2650 Gulf Drive S., Bradenton Beach, and ends at City Pier, 100 S. Bay Blvd., Anna Maria. Free. Email [email protected].
PALMETTO FOURTH OF JULY FESTIVAL
Palmetto Community Redevelopment Agency’s fifth annual Fourth of July Festival features a big-name headliner, and this year’s performers are Country Music Hall of Fame 2015 inductees The Oak Ridge Boys. Family friendly activities start at 1 p.m. at Sutton Park. Openers Boss Hog and Carol Cole will take the stage at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively, before The Oak Ridge Boys go on at 7 p.m. Attendees can stay in their seats or walk down to the Manatee River for a more dramatic view of the fireworks show, which starts at 9 p.m. There will be food and drink available for purchase. Free. Call 723-4988.
FOURTH ANNUAL MYAKKA KAYAKA FOURTH OF JULY JAM BLAST
Get active and take a kayak ride along the Myakka River this Fourth of July from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Snook Haven, 5000 E. Venice Ave., Venice. Eventgoers will also enjoy brews and live americana music, all to support Friends of Sarasota County Parks. Free. Call 484-7362.
SANDBAR RESTAURANT FOURTH OF JULY EXTRAVAGANZA
Head to the pavilion at Sandbar Restaurant, 100 Spring Ave., Anna Maria, for a perfect view of the Anna Maria Island fireworks show. Pavilion opens at 6 p.m. and VIP package holders get food, an open bar and party favors for $140 per adult and $50 per child age 12 and under. The fireworks show begins around 9 p.m. and viewing is free. Seating is limited. Call 778-8709 for reservations.
Celebrate Independence Day among Sarasota's natural beauty at 6 p.m. at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Enjoy music by SoulRCoaster, All-American grill classics and beverages available for purchase by Michael’s On East and a picturesque view of the Sarasota Bayfront fireworks show. A trolley will be available from 5 to 9:30 p.m. from the Sarasota Friendship Center, 1888 Brother Geenen Way. Admission is $25 for members, $35 for non-members, $10 for children ages 4 to 12 and free for children ages 3 and under. The VIP Selby Experience, which includes food, beverages and valet, is $125. Call 366-5731.
VOICES OF FREEDOM
Choral Artists of Sarasota, formerly Gloria Musicae, will hold a Fourth of July concert aimed at celebrating the American dream — liberty and justice for all. This year’s 90-minute performance has a new setting of the Gettysburg Address and will begin at 4:30 p.m. at First Church, Sarasota, 104 S. Pineapple Ave. The event will be dedicated to the memory of June LeBell, the late former performer and executive director of Choral Artists of Sarasota. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Call 387-6046.
BAYFRONT FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR
This annual fireworks display, part of the 2017 Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix, begins at 9 p.m. The official festival viewing is at Island Park, but the show can be seen in all its patriotic glory from anywhere along Sarasota Bay. Free. Call 487-7904.
SIESTA KEY 27TH ANNUAL FOURTH OF JULY FIREWORKS DISPLAY
Grab your towel and head to the soft, white sand of what TripAdvisor and Dr. Beach recently dubbed the No. 1 beach in the U.S. The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce will host the event, which starts at 9 p.m. at Siesta Key Beach. Free. Call 349-3800.
Watch a spectacular fireworks display fired from the south Venice Jetty at Venice Beach after sunset. Ideal vantage points include Venice Beach, Nokomis Beach or via boat on the Gulf of Mexico or Intracoastal waterway. Free.