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Cities abound with patriotic spirit this Fourth of July


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As the nation prepares to mark its 238th Independence Day, local communities are readying their own celebrations.

Red, white and blue decorations will adorn parks and city streets throughout the area to boost patriotism, while fireworks will cap city July 4th festivities. Here are some places to party with family and friends in north and central Pinellas.

Clearwater

Clearwater Celebrates America at Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., includes a Stars & Squirts Kid’s Zone from 5 to 9 p.m. with crafts, games and a mascot parade. The Mostly Pops Orchestra, featuring the Wilsons, will present a concert starting at 7:30.

The grand finale at 9:30 p.m. is the “Spark the Sky” fireworks display.

Coachman Park is located downtown on the waterfront just north of Drew Street next to the city’s main library. For parking information, visit myclearwater.com/parking. For details about the free celebration, call (727) 562-4700 or visit facebook.com/cityofclearwater.

Dunedin

Hometown USA Celebration, presented by the city and the Dunedin Blue Jays, features a Minor League baseball game, concert and fireworks show at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave.

The game begins at 4:15 p.m., followed by The Greg Billings Band at 7. Fireworks start at 9:30.

For information, call the Dunedin Blue Jays at (727) 733-9302 or Dunedin Parks & Recreation at (727) 812-4530.

Safety Harbor

A patriotic ceremony is set from 10 a.m. to noon at the Main Street Gazebo in John Wilson Park, followed by a parade along Main Street. There will be patriotic presentations, children’s activities, live entertainment and food vendors throughout the day.

Then, head to Waterfront Park at the Marina, 110 Veterans Memorial Lane, for the 9 p.m. fireworks show.

Largo

Largo Central Park is the place to be for the city’s family-friendly Fourth of July celebration that begins at 6 p.m. and culminates with fireworks starting at 9.

Enjoy music played by a disk jockey, activities and food in the park, 101 Central Park Drive off East Bay Drive. No alcohol, coolers, pets or personal fireworks (not even sparklers) will be permitted.

Limited onsite parking will be available for $5. Or park and walk from Largo middle and high schools.

For information, call (727) 587-6775 or visit LargoEvents.com.

Pinellas Beaches

Gulfport will celebrate with a full day of activities along its historical waterfront.

A kids fishing derby will be held at 8 a.m. near the sea wall adjacent to the Gulfport Recreation Center, 5730 Shore Blvd. S.

A sand sculpting contest will be held from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on East Beach Blvd. Parents can take the children to unwind in the Kidzone from noon to 5 p.m. at the recreation center.

A craft show begins at 4 and live music kicks off at 5 in downtown.

A parade on Beach Boulevard will begin at 6 p.m., and the fireworks finale starts at 9:15.

Times are tentative, check mygulfport.us for updates or call (727) 893-1118.

Treasure Island will salute the holiday with a fireworks show starting at 9 p.m. near the Bilmar Beach Resort, 10650 Gulf Blvd. Free. Call (727) 547-4575.

In St. Pete Beach the fun will get underway early with a parade starting at 8:30 a.m., at Gulf Beaches Historical Museum, 115 10th Ave., in Pass-A-Grille. Kids are encouraged to decorate their bikes with red, white and blue and join in the old-fashioned parade. After the parade, the museum will host a treasure hunt for the children among its exhibits. Call (727) 552-1610.

The city will host its annual fireworks display at 9 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from Upham Beach, 6850 Beach Plaza. Call (727) 367-2735.

Parking fees will be waived at Pinellas County’s most popular parks, Fort De Soto, Sand Key and Fred Howard parks, on Friday.

Parking fees at the county’s other beach access parks, including Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores/Tiki Gardens, Madeira Beach, Redington Shores and St. Pete Beach, will still be in effect.

For information on Pinellas County Parks and Preserves, visit www.pinellascounty.org/park.

Tampa

Red, White and Zoo -- In honor of Independence Day, the Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W. Sligh Ave., is offering a military appreciation program. Members of the military, including active duty, retirees and veterans, and up to three direct dependents will be admitted to the zoo free of charge Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Call (813) 935-8552.

The Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Old Water St., will celebrate Independence Day by offering free admission and extended hours on Friday. Costumed re-enactors will share hands-on displays of artifacts, uniforms, crafts and music representing the Civil War, Seminole War, Spanish American War, and WWII. Stick around in Cotanchobee Park for a view of the Channelside fireworks that start at 9 p.m. Call (813) 228-0097.

The Fourth of July Family Funfest at American Victory Ship, the SS American Victory, 705 Channelside Dr., will start at 6:30 p.m. This family festival features face painting, arts and crafts, food trucks, entertainment, drinks and fireworks viewing from the deck of the former WWII supply ship. Plan early. This usually sells out.Cost is $12, $7 children, $10 seniors and military. Call (866) 468-7630.

Tarpon Springs

Pack a picnic basket and bring the family for a fun day starting at 10 a.m. at Craig Park, 5 Beekman Way. at 10 a.m. A Fireworks show will start at 8:30 p.m. While the fireworks will be launched from Sunset Beach, city officials say the best viewing spot is Fred Howard Park, 1700 Sunset Dr. Call (727) 942-5628.

Tampa Bay

Restaurant offers discounts to veterans, active duty. As part of a nationwide initiative to help Operation Homefront, Brick House Tavern + Tap will kick off a campaign on Friday to serve military members who have served or are currently serving the country by offering a discount at all restaurant locations.

Operation Homefront is an organization that provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors.

The restaurant and tavern will honor active and retired military and their families with a 50 percent off all meal tickets at all restaurants Friday.

In addition, the restaurant chain will kick-off “Military Mondays,” a promotion that offers military members and their families a 20 percent off discount every Monday at locations through Labor Day, Sept. 1.

In Clearwater, the restaurant is located at 28795 US Highway 19 N., (727) 726-6352; general manager Mark Maurer; and in Tampa at 1102 North Dale Mabry Highway, (813) 350-9108; general manager Aaron Sturgis.

Details are available online at http://brickhousetavernandtap.com.

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