BEST PLACES to see fireworks
Independence Day celebrations abound in Manatee and Sarasota. Here's a list of where to celebrate over the Fourth of July weekend.
Marauders' Independence Day Celebration: McKechnie Field, 1611 Ninth St. W., Bradenton
Celebrate Independence Day a day early with a special Independence Day Marauders game against the Charlotte Stone Crabs beginning with a happy hour 5:30 p.m. followed by the game and fireworks July 3. First 1,500 fans will receive a free Marauders Independence Day T-shirt. Tickets: $6-$8. Information: 941-747-3031 or milb.com.
All-American Barbecue and Independence Day Celebration: Selby Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota
Enjoy an All-American Barbecue and Independence Day Celebration 6-10 p.m. July 4 featuring barbecue pit masters, live music, family activities and enjoy fireworks over Sarasota Bay. Admission: $30 members, $35 nonmembers, children ages 11 and younger are admitted free. Information: selby.org.
Fireworks Spectacular over Sarasota Bay: various locations
The Fireworks Spectacular over Sarasota Bay can be viewed free from anywhere downtown including Bayfront Park and Island Park. Fireworks start at 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Information: visitsarasota.org.
Freedom Fest: Bicentennial Park at Longboat Key Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road
The Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Freedom Fest 9-11 a.m. July 4 featuring patriotic music, a parade, children's games including face painting and sand art, a "Hot Diggity Dog" contest for dog owners. Decorated bikes kids and pets are encouraged. Refreshments and beverages will be served. The event is free and open to the public. Information: 941-383-2466 or longboatkeychamber.com.
Sandbar Fourth of July celebration: 100 Spring Ave., Anna Maria
The Sandbar will host its 29th annual Sandbar Fireworks Extravaganza beginning at 6 p.m. with a fireworks show at 9 p.m. July 4. Tickets: $125 adults, $50 children. The event will feature VIP seating. Seating is limited, reservations are encouraged. Information: 941-778-8709 or islanddining.com.
Anna Maria Island Privateers annual Fourth of July Parade: various locations
The Anna Maria Island Privateers will host their annual Fourth of July parade stepping off at 10 a.m. at South Coquina Beach and covering the entire length of Anna Maria to North Anna Maria City Pier. There will be a Parade Party at the Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach noon-4 p.m. featuring food specials and live music by the Steel Relic, a kids classic rock cover band, followed by the band Crossover. The event is free and open to the public. Information: 941-780-1668.
Pier 22 Annual Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration and Pig Roast: 1200 First Ave. W., Bradenton
Bring the entire family for the most awesome waterfront Fourth of July in town and enjoy exclusive VIP seating along the Manatee River, under the fireworks, while dining beginning at 6 p.m. July 4. Cost: $69.95 adults, $19.95 children ages 11 and younger. Valet parking will be available. Reservations: 941-748-8087.
Palmetto Independence Day Celebration: Sutton Park, 1006 Sixth St. W., Palmetto
Palmetto celebrates America's Independence Day with its fifth "Fourth Festival" beginning at 4 p.m. July 4 featuring music by national recording country music artists Craig Campbell at 5 p.m. and Rodney Atkins at 7 p.m. There will be food and beverage vendors and children's activities. Fireworks over the Manatee River will start at 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Free and paid parking will be available. Information: 941-723-4570 or palmettofl.org.
Independence Day Fireworks over the Manatee River: along the Manatee River, Bradenton
View the fireworks, handled by the City of Palmetto, along the Manatee River in Bradenton starting at 9 p.m. July 4. The event is free and open to the public. Information: 941-723-4570 or palmettofl.org.
SOMA Creek Side Fourth of July Bash: SOMA Creek Side, 1401 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton
Enjoy a Baja-style buffet with hors d'oeuvres and dessert bar, view the fireworks from the rooftop and enjoy live music by Muphin Chuckrs 6-10:30 p.m. July 4. Tickets: $25. Information: 941-567-4001 or somacreekside.com.