From races to the classic fireworks, check out these events to help you celebrate Independence Day right.
Saturday, July 3
Nathan Benderson Park Fireworks on the Lake and 4-Miler
Nathan Benderson Park will again be home to families, fireworks and fun at its annual fireworks show. The family-focused event will have its own Fireworks 4-Miler race around the park’s lake at 7 p.m., just before sundown. The race will provide a race shirt, a finisher’s medal and glow gear for all participants. Fireworks explode over the water later in the night. Event admission is free. Race registration is $35 for in person and $40 for a virtual race; visit RaceRoster.com. Call 358-7275.
Sunday, July 4
Parade and Bayfront Fireworks Spectacular
This year, the Sarasota Bayfront is stepping the Fourth of July celebrations up a notch with a festival and parade before the evening fireworks. From 3-7 p.m. in J.D. Hamel Park, the Sarasota Downtown Enrichment Association hosts a festival featuring food trucks and live music from bands Big Night Out and Twinkle. The parade, which begins at 8 p.m., will go from Mound Street and Orange Avenue to Bayfront Drive and Main Street, followed by the national anthem performed by “American Idol” singer Alana Sherman. The fireworks display will launch around 9 p.m. with seating around Island Park, the bayfront and downtown. Free. Visit SuncoastSummerfest.org.
Palmetto Fourth of July Festival
The Palmetto Community Redevelopment Agency’s annual Fourth of July festival will again be a lively affair, with craft beer and food vendors at Sutton Park, 1036 Sixth St. W., Palmetto. Opening the evening at 5 p.m. is the band His Country. Country singer Wynonna Judd headlines the festival with her band, The Big Noise, beginning at 7 p.m and leading into the fireworks. Event is free. Call 723-4988.
Siesta Key Community Fireworks
The Siesta Key Community Fireworks show, now in its 30th year, has families and friends flocking to Siesta Key’s white-sand beaches for an evening of fun. The event, put together by the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, hosts the community event on Siesta Key Beach. Fireworks are free, but the event has sponsorships available that provide free parking, free beverages and snacks, as well as preferred seating at the hospitality area for the best view. Viewing area opens at 6 p.m., and fireworks start at dusk. Call 349-3800.
There are few better ideas than traveling down Tamiami Trail to catch the impressive fireworks show launch from the south jetty at Venice Beach around 9 p.m. The free, 30-minute show can be checked out at several area beaches from Caspersen to Nokomis. The south jetty and Jetty Jack’s Refreshment Deck will be closed to the public. Visit VeniceGov.com.
Saturday, July 3
Manatee County Anna Maria Island Privateers Fourth of July Parade
The Anna Maria Island Privateers will again bring swashbuckling fun to the Fourth of July with its annual public parade. The event is open to all interested parties, including local businesses, families and other salty sea dogs who are looking to live the pirate life. The parade kicks off at 10 a.m. at Coquina Beach, 2650 Gulf Drive S., Bradenton Beach, and ends at Bayfront Park, 316 N. Bay Blvd., Anna Maria. Free. Visit AMIPrivateers.org.
Sunday, July 4
Longboat Key Annual Freedom Fest and Hot Diggity Dog Parade
Longboat Key’s perennial patriotic party kicks off at 7 a.m. at Bicentennial Park for festivities through noon. The 15-minute parade along Bay Isles Road begins at 9 a.m. Attendees of all ages will throw on their most vibrant red, white and blue attire for a day of games, patriotism and celebration. Longboat Key Fire Chief Paul Dezzi will serve as one of three Freedom Fest grand marshals in a celebration honoring local heroes. Free. Call 383-2466.
Choral Artists of Sarasota is joined for the first time by Lakewood Ranch Wind Ensemble for its annual Fourth of July concert celebration. Lakewood Ranch Wind Ensemble will perform several pieces including the Star Spangled Banner and “Hands Across the Sea” by John Philip Sousa. Choral Artists will perform two arrangements — “An American Celebration” by Brent Adams and “Lift Every Voice for Freedom” by Moses Hogan — before the two ensembles join for “Armed Forces Salute,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “God Bless America.” The concert will be performed live at 2:30 p.m. July 4 at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., and available online July 17 through Aug. 17. Tickets are $25-$50. Visit ChoralArtistsSarasota.org.
If you prefer a more natural venue for your July Fourth merriment, check out the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ All-American Cookout. The 6-9 p.m. event will have an all-American food for purchase and a number of activities and games before the fireworks. General admission is free for children up to 3, $10 for children 4-12, $25 for members and $35 for general public. Tickets are also available for Selby Experience, which includes valet parking, an all-inclusive buffet, an open bar and prime fireworks seating. Call 366-5731.
Monday, July 5
Liberty Litter Cleanup
If you’re wanting some civic engagement to follow your Fourth of July festivities, try the Keep Sarasota County Beautiful’s annual cleanup event. Liberty Litter Cleanup has hundreds of volunteers picking up trash and refuse at Lido Beach, Siesta Beach, North Jetty Park, Ted Sperling Park and a number of other locations. The cleanup starts at 7 a.m. sharp and usually wraps by 8:30 or 9 a.m. Registration is required. Call 861-5000, or visit SCGov.net for the online sign-up form.
Join the Neighborhood! Our 100% local content helps strengthen our communities by delivering news and information that is relevant to our readers. Support independent local journalism by joining the Observer's new membership program — The Newsies — a group of like-minded community citizens, like you. Be a Newsie.