Thousands watch fireworks in Jacksonville Beach, Orange Park

Traffic at Jax Beach and in parts of Clay County has gotten so bad police have started manually directing traffic.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Apart from Downtown Jacksonville, many of the surrounding counties have their own fireworks shows too, and thousands looked up to the skies for a show in Jacksonville Beach and Orange Park.

Many people spent the day on the beach, enjoying a fireworks show at the Jacksonville Beach Pier. Some, like Victoria Gaffey, grabbed their bike and went for a cruise.

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"We started at Neptune (Beach) and road all the way down here," Gaffey said. "It is awesome. House parties going on. It's been a lot of fun."

Steve Presutti is a veteran. 2019 was his second Fourth of July in Jacksonville Beach. He decided he too needed a bike for his second Independence Day celebration at the beaches.

"I went and bought this yesterday. Made sure I got the gears. Got to have the gears," Presutti said.

Ray Pimentel, a Jacksonville Beach resident, has lived in Jacksonville his entire life.

"I have never been anwhere where the Fourth of July is celebrated like this," Pimentel said.

Officials estimate about 25,000 people were in Jacksonville Beach to watch the fireworks.

Out west in Orange Park, thousands of people came together in the Moosehaven retirement community to enjoy the fireworks display along the river. James Cawley, a Clay County resident, knew after the celebration patience would be necessary.

“Most of the time, you leave with everybody else, you can be sitting an hour or two trying to get out sometimes. It really all depends on how the traffic is," Cawley said.

Two hours before the fireworks began, some people were already leaving the event to avoid the traffic.

“I’m not trying to stay here for that," said J.J. Mares, a Clay County resident. "Spend more time getting through traffic that you do at the event here."

About the Authors:

Zachery “Zach” Lashway anchors KPRC 2+ Now. He began at KPRC 2 as a reporter in October 2021.

Award-winning broadcast and multimedia journalist with 20 years experience.