From before dawn until the morning after, there are many ways to honor America's birthday and have some family fun. And, yes, many of them feature things that go boom.
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Glynn County Independence Day - all day
Independence Day on St. Simons Island begins with a one-mile fun run at 7 a.m., followed by a 5K at 7:30 a.m. There'll be a golf cart parade starting at Mallery Park at 2:30 p.m. Music begins at 6 p.m., with Winged Mercury and the Caroline Aiken Bank performing. Fireworks over the pier begin at 9 p.m. (The pier and immediate area -- including the water -- will be closed to the public all day to prepare for and set off the fireworks.)
St. Mary's 4th of July Celebration - all day
The Kiwanis Annual Fourth of July celebration offers hometown charm plus a parade and fireworks over the St. Marys River. The day begins at 7 a.m. with 5K and 10K runs at the United Methodist Church, arts and crafts vendors open in front Waterfront Park at 9 a.m. and a patriotic parade begins on Meeting Street at 10 a.m. Entertainment begins at 11 a.m. at the waterfront amphitheater. The day is capped with a fireworks display over the water at dusk.
Lake Butler Rotary Club Celebration Events - all day
The annual Lake Butler Rotary Club 4th of July Celebration kicks off at 3:30 a.m. with their Big Bass Fishing Tournament! Top Prize is $1,000 for the largest bass, with other cash prizes available as well. There will be a One Mile Fun Run at 7 a.m., followed by a 5K at 8 a.m., and a car show from 9 a.m.- noon. There will be a variety of vendors with food, crafts, an art show and much more, including free bounce houses and water slides for the kids.
Celebration 5K - 7:30 a.m.
For $20 registration, runners can enjoy moisture wicking shirts to all participants, custom designed medals to all 5K finishers and 1st Place Sports fun run medals to all mile finishers. After the race, stick around and enjoy the watermelon festival and take part in the seed spitting contest and drawings for prizes. Post-race food will also include bananas, bagels and popsicles. There will be prize money to the top finishers and three deep age-group awards for each 5-year category.
Keystone Beach Our Country Day - 9 a.m.
Parade, music, baby crawl, watermelon eating contest and more at Keystone Beach. Entry into the park will require a $1 armband. Armbands are on sale at My Brand and City Hall. Armbands will be available 9 a.m.-2 p.m. July 4th In front of City Hall and 5 p.m.-until fireworks begin at Keystone Beach. Fireworks will begin at 9:30 p.m., weather and burn ban permitting.
Flagler County Fabulous Fourth Parade - 10 a.m.
The Rotary Club of Flagler Beach will host the Fabulous Fourth Parade in Flagler Beach featuring boats, cars, trucks, golf carts, bicycles, motorcycles, skateboards, scooters, walkers, you name it in the parade. There will be a Best of Parade trophy and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd categories in several categories.
Columbia County's 4th of July Celebration - 3-10 p.m.
Military displays, food and craft vendors and a kids zone at Columbia County Fairgrounds will be capped by a fireworks display at 9:20 p.m.
American Pride Celebration at Moosehaven - 5-10 p.m.
Visitors can enjoy warm summer breezes and southern entertainment to celebrate Independence Day with fireworks on the Moosehaven campus, on U.S. 17 in Orange Park. They will have live entertainment and plenty of family activities including a kids zone. Fireworks start at 9:20 p.m.
Riverside Arts Market - 6-10 p.m.
Fun for the whole family with food trucks and makers from Riverside Arts Market. There will be live music, beer by Salt Life Food Shack and Intuition Ale Works, and kid’s activities. The City of Jacksonville firework show is at 9:45 p.m.
St. Augustine's Fourth of July Celebration - 6-10 p.m.
A live music concert at the Castillo de San Marcos will be followed by "Fireworks Over the Matanza," one of the biggest and best fireworks displays on the East Coast featuring 5,000 individual shells exploding as high as 2,000 feet and as low as 100 feet. The evening opens with popular All-Star Orchestra performing a two-hour show of big band and swing music and patriotic favorites. The concert is free and open to the public, and everyone is encouraged to bring lounge chairs for seating. The fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m.
Red, White and Boom - Performances begin at 8 p.m., The Local Station live broadcast at 9 p.m., fireworks at 9:45 p.m.
Put on your favorite red, white and blue and come down to the majestic St. Johns River in Downtown Jacksonville for the best July 4th Fireworks show in the area. Wristbands will be passed out at 7 p.m. to get access to the outside deck stage at River City Brewing Company for performances by Christian Paul and Ally Brooke. Fireworks can be viewed from both sides of the river, including the Jacksonville Landing, although no businesses remain open.
Amelia River Cruises Family Firework Cruise - 8 p.m.
This extended 1.5-hour sunset tour offers a relaxing way for the whole family to take in Florida’s first sunset, hear an abbreviated history of the area and enjoy the 4th of July Fireworks from the water. You may bring any food or beverages you like aboard. Adults $25 and children $19. Reservations are highly recommended.
Fireworks at the Pier at Jacksonville Beach - 9 p.m.
Jacksonville Beach is hosting the annual 4th of July They recommend everyone to get there early for a great seat. The pier parking lot will be open for seating only, so bring your chairs and blankets. Due to heavy traffic, certain streets will be closed after 5 p.m. and drivers are urged to look out for pedestrians and parents are urged to keep up with their children. No one will be allowed on the oceanfront or water between Third and Fifth Avenue North during the fireworks display as it is a public safety dozen zone.
Hilliard's annual fireworks display - 9 p.m.
The Town of Hilliard’s firework display will be at the Hilliard Airpark, 37776 Eastwood Road,
Independence Day Celebration on Jekyll Island - 9 p.m.
Fireworks on oceanside of the island. Parking will be available on Great Dunes Golf Course, just a short walk from the beach where fireworks viewing is best. The fireworks will be free but there will be a fee for parking.
The morning after...
Keepers of the Coast is recruiting volunteers, sponsors and adoptees for the 10th Annual “Day After” beach cleanup for 8:30-10:30 a.m. July 5. The purpose of the cleanup is to restore the coastline following the impacts of Fourth of July, traditionally one of the busiest beach days of the year. All participants will be given a bag for trash, a bag for recycling, and a bag for cigarette butts. Helping conserve coastal habitat is easy. All you need to do is pick a location and email them at email@example.com with your interests, they give you the supplies. Locations include Mickler’s Beachfront Park, Vilano Beachfront Park, A Street Beach Access, St. Johns County Ocean and Fishing Pier in St. Augustine Beach.