8 ways to celebrate Independence Day around Bradenton

Zambelli International fireworks has been a partner to the Bradenton Area River Regatta since its inception and will now be in charge of the annual Fourth of July fireworks show.
Zambelli International fireworks has been a partner to the Bradenton Area River Regatta since its inception and will now be in charge of the annual Fourth of July fireworks show. Herald file photo

Independence Day is Wednesday, July 4.

There are many places to celebrate with live music, food and fireworks around Bradenton. Here are a few of the best bets.

Whatever you do, don't get too star-spangled, and make sure you can still see straight by dawn's early light.

Anna Maria Island

The Anna Maria Island Privateers annual Fourth of July parade features a long line of red, white and blue decorated floats, cars, horses and various other vehicles. Herald file photo

Island parade

The Privateers’ Island Parade starts at 10 a.m. on the Fourth of July. The parade begins at Coquina Beach and marches the whole island, ending up at the Anna Maria City Pier. Expect cannon fire and flying beads and candy.

Details: 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. July 4. Starting at Coquina Beach. annamaria.com.

The big show

Anna Maria's Independence Day fireworks display will launch from near The Sandbar Restaurant starting at 8 p.m. on Wednesday night. Bring a blanket, beach towel or beach chairs and enjoy the show for free from the sand. Seating at the restaurant is first come, first served. VIP packages are also available.

Details: 8 p.m.-10 p.m. July 4. The Sandbar Restaurant, 100 Spring Ave., Anna Maria Island. Free. 941-778-0444. annamaria.com.

Downtown Bradenton

LECOM Park is home to the Bradenton Marauders. Herald file photo

At the ballpark

Warm up for the fourth with a night of baseball and fireworks at LECOM Field. The Bradenton Marauder' will square off with the Palm Beach Cardinals. It's the biggest post-game fireworks show of the season, and the first 1,500 guests will receive free t-shirts.

Details: 6:30 p.m. July 3. 1611 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. $6-$10. 941-747-3031. milb.com/bradenton.

Fireworks explode overhead spectators during an Independence Day fireworks show on July 4, 2017 over the Manatee River in Bradenton. Herald file photo

Fireworks on Manatee River

This is the first year that Zambelli International will provide the fireworks for the spectacular over Manatee River, and it's expected to be quite a show. Grab a spot along the Bradenton Riverwalk or on the waterfront in Palmetto.

Details: Around 9 p.m. July 4.


Charlie provided 1
Legendary country music star Charlie Daniels will be playing for the all-free Fourth of July Festival in Palmetto. Provided photo

Fourth Fest

In addition to the Zambelli fireworks display, the city of Palmetto is hosting its eighth annual Fourth Fest. This year, live music starts at 4:30 p.m.. The Charlie Daniels Band will close the show. Fourth Fest includes food vendors, a beer garden and family friendly activities. A blood drive and a canned food drive will also be on site. When the music stops, the fireworks begin.

Details: 3 p.m.-9 p.m. July 4. Sutton and Lamb Parks, 1036 Sixth St. W., Palmetto. 941-723-4988. palmettofl.org.


Benderson Fireworks
Fireworks at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota. Bradenton Herald File Photo

Fanfares and Fireworks

Sarasota will also host some pre-Fourth festivities. Fanfares and Fireworks will bring live music and fireworks to Nathan Benderson Park starting at 4 p.m. July 3. Albert Castilga and Greg Billings will play. Fireworks start around 9:30 p.m. Picnic blankets and lawn chairs are recommended. Coolers are not allowed at the event, but there will be food and drink vendors on site.

Details: 4 p.m.-10 p.m. July 3. Nathan Benderson Park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota. Free. nathanbendersonpark.org.

All-American Cookout at Selby Botanical Gardens

A fourth of July celebration at Selby includes access to the gardens, plus live music from soul band The Hydramatic, cookout food from Michael's On East's grill and a nice view of the fireworks over Sarasota Bay.

Details: 6 p.m.- 10 p.m. July 4. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Adults: $35, Members: $25, Children 12 and under: $10. selby.org.

Main event

Sarasota's biggest fireworks display launches south of the Ringling Bridge and is viewable from all over the city. Bayfront Park and Marina Jack are good bets, but stake them out early enough to get a good spot. The show marks the closing of the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix, an event which raises money for Suncoast Charities for Children. The fireworks start around 9 p.m.

Details: 9 p.m. July 4. Bayfront Park, 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota. Free. 941-487-7904. sarasotapowerboatgrandprix.org.

Ryan Ballogg: 941-745-7024, @rballogg
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