Here’s how you can stay safe while enjoying fireworks
Independence Day is Thursday.
If you’re not sure how you’re spending the holiday yet, good news — there are lots of fun options in and around Manatee County.
Celebrations around Bradenton, Anna Maria Island, Palmetto and Sarasota include live music, festive food and the biggest fireworks shows of the year.
Double your fun with pre-Fourth events at LECOM Park in Bradenton and Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota.
And remember, safety first — don’t get too slammed while you salute Uncle Sam.
At the ballpark: Warm up for the Fourth with a night of baseball and fireworks on Wednesday at LECOM Park.
The Florida State League’s Bradenton Marauders will square off with the Jupiter Hammerheads.
It’s the biggest postgame fireworks show of the season, and the first 1,500 guests will receive free T-shirts.
The Marauders will play a four-game series against the Florida Fire Frogs from Thursday-Sunday. Thursday’s game has a 10:30 scheduled start time.
Details: 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday. 1611 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. $7-$12.
Info: 941-747-3031. milb.com/bradenton.
Along the Manatee River: Grab a spot along the Bradenton Riverwalk, in downtown Bradenton or on the waterfront in Palmetto for this annual patriotic spectacular over the Manatee River.
Details: Approximately 9 p.m. on Thursday.
A filling Fourth: If you’re looking for a comfy spot to watch the fireworks and grab dinner, Pier 22 Restaurant’s July Fourth Buffet and Fireworks Party is good bet.
The buffet includes a salad station, seafood station, hot dogs, burgers, chicken, ribs and a pig roast.
Pier 22’s “mixologists” will be whipping up red, white and blue cocktails.
Details: 6-9 p.m. on Thursday. Pier 22, 1200 First Ave. W., Bradenton. Kids 8 and under: $19.95. Adults: $69.95. Reservations required.
A feast on the Fourth: Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille, Downtown Bradenton is another prime spot for a Fourth of July feast.
The restaurant has great views of the river and will offer a special holiday menu and all-day happy hour, plus live music from the Lisa Ridings Band.
Details: 6-10 p.m. on Thursday. Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille, Downtown Bradenton, 101 Riverfront Blvd., Bradenton.
Anna Maria Island
Island parade: The Anna Maria Island Privateers’ Fourth of July Parade starts at 10 a.m. on Thursday.
The parade begins on the southern tip of the island at Coquina Beach and takes a seven-mile route north to end up at the Anna Maria City Pier.
Expect cannon fire, flying beads and candy and lots of red, white and blue.
Details: 10 a.m.-noon on Thursday. 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 9 p.m. on Thursday.
Bring a blanket, beach towel or beach chairs and enjoy the show for free from the sand.
Tickets for The Sandbar Restaurant’s fireworks dinner are $155 for adults and $50 for kids 12 and under. The dinner starts at 6 p.m. and includes appetizers, a raw bar, dinner and dessert.
Details: Around 9 p.m. on Thursday. The Sandbar Restaurant, 100 Spring Ave., Anna Maria Island. Free. 941-778-0444.
Fourth Fest: The city of Palmetto is getting funky for its ninth annual Fourth Fest with two big entertainers.
Live music starts at 5 p.m. and features psychedelic rockers Rare Earth followed by Mark Farner and his American Band.
Farner is best known as the frontman of ‘70s rock legends Grand Funk Railroad.
Fourth Fest includes food vendors, a beer garden and family friendly activities.
When the music stops, the fireworks over Manatee River begin.
Details: 3-9 p.m. on Thursday. Sutton and Lamb Parks, 1036 Sixth St. W., Palmetto. 941-723-4988. palmettofl.org.
Fireworks on the Lake: Fireworks on the Lake will bring a night of pre-Fourth fun to Nathan Benderson Park on Wednesday.
Gates open at 4 p.m.
Watch a race around the lake at 7 p.m. followed by soul and rock outfit the Greg Billings Band at 7:15 p.m.
Fireworks begin at 9:15 p.m., and then local rockers The Black Honkeys will close out the night.
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: 4-11 p.m. on Wednesday. Nathan Benderson Park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota. Free.
All-American Cookout at Selby Botanical Gardens: A Fourth of July celebration at Selby includes access to the gardens, plus music from family-friendly DJ Karolina Lira, cookout food from Michael’s On East’s grill and a scenic view of the fireworks over Sarasota Bay.
Blankets and chairs are welcome, but leave your coolers at home.
Details: 6-9:30 p.m. Thursday. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Adults: $35, Members: $25, Children 12 and under: $10.
Main event: Sarasota’s biggest fireworks display launches south of the Ringling Bridge and is viewable from all over the city.
The pyrotechnics begin around 9 p.m.
Details: 9 p.m. on Thursday. Bayfront Park, 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota. Free. 941-487-7904. sarasotapowerboatgrandprix.org.
Fourth of July weekend
Village of the Arts Art Walk: Are you ready to go under the sea?
The theme for July’s Art Walk weekend is mermaids, and the creators of Village of the Arts have been busy crafting up all kinds of magical fish beings for your viewing pleasure.
Stroll among colorful cottages, grab a bite at one of the Village eateries or even get a tattoo — there’s always something new to see in the Village of the Arts.
Details: 6-9 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Village of the Arts, 1227 12th St. W., Bradenton. Free.
Art party at Connect Bradenton: Community meeting and work space Connect Bradenton has new leadership, and the organization is celebrating with a party and art gallery show.
The gallery will feature the shocking images of Big Bolt Media — a group of professional and amateur photographers who document lightning strikes around Florida.
Food and drink will be available for purchase.
Details: 5-9 p.m. Friday. Connect Bradenton, 1201 Sixth Ave. W., Bradenton. Free.
Sarasota Grand Prix: The Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix is this week, and many events are cheap or free to attend.
Highlights this weekend include a meet and greet with the race teams and a boat party on Friday, and a car and motorcycle show on Saturday.
The main event happens Sunday with six hours of powerboat and jet ski racing off of Lido Beach.
Details: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Lido Beach, 400 Benjamin Franklin Dr., Sarasota. Free.