Orchestras to Belly Flops

July 2, 2010


Fourth of July Weekend Happenings Around The State

Most Florida cities, large or small, have something planned for the 4th of July weekend.  Here are just a few that go a step beyond the traditional fireworks display.

Starting in the Northeast, Amelia Island, just north of Jacksonville, will present the traditional parade and fireworks in the historic downtown/marina area.  For something different, you can take a candlelight tour of the waterfront Fort Clinch and enjoy the fireworks from there.

Classy is what you would expect from the oldest city in America.  St. Augustine’s Fireworks Over the Matanzas program takes place from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on the 4th. The All Star Orchestra will present a two-hour show full of Big Band and Swing music, as well as traditional patriotic songs.  Fireworks go off at 9:30 p.m. to a “stirring soundtrack of great popular music.”

For those into NASCAR, Daytona Beach continues the tradition of holding the 160-lap, 400-mile Coke Zero 400 on the 3rd of July at the Daytona International Speedway.  The race starts at 7:30 p.m.  There will be a pre-race concert by Darius Rucker, and post race fireworks.  On the 4th, watch the fireworks from Daytona’s main pier.

Saturday or Sunday you can head over to the Central Florida Zoo in Sanford for the Red, White and Zoo festival.  Enter the watermelon eating contest, or just enjoy games, crafts, live music and something called “waterslide zoo animal encounters.”  9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each day.

If you want to party 50’s style, head over to Celebration.  An All-American Sock Hop is happening, along with a 1950’s costume contest, concerts, and food, all followed by fireworks set to the “best loved music” of the 50’s. 

If you’re looking for a beer garden and dunk tank atmosphere, head over to Kissimmee and enjoy their Independence Day Celebration at Kissimmee Lakefront Park.  There will also be patriotic crafts, snow-cones and bounce houses for the kids.  Sunday, 5:00-9:00 pm.  Fireworks go off at 9:10 p.m.

The Florida Aquarium in Tampa is staying open until 9:30 so you can watch the fireworks over the Channel. The Aquarium is also taking their two-deck Bay Spirit II, a 72-ft. long catamaran, on a sunset cruise, ending with a spectacular viewing of the fireworks from the boat.  Hors d’ouvres and an open bar for wine and beer are included, with a cash bar available.  The price of $50 covers aquarium admission, parking, food, beer and wine. 

Cedar Key celebrates the holiday with Clamerica, described as a “down home 4th of July party, but with a clammy theme.”  Just the place for clam lovers.  Clams on the half shell, steamed clams, clam chowder, clam fritters…

And then there’s tiny Madison County in the extreme North Center of the State, midway between Pensacola and Jacksonville, where not one, but three celebrations will be held.  God & Country Independence Day Celebration takes place on Saturday from 5:00 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.  Fireworks included.  Celebrate the Stars and Stripes takes place July 2-5th with watermelon eating contests, mini golf, volley ball and horseshoe tournaments, and candy bar bingo.  Saturday at noon is the not-to-be-missed Non-Alcoholic Red Neck Games. Mud football, belly flop contest, and the ‘ole bobbin’ for pig’s feet.  Who could ask for more.


Kicking Off Summer

May 28, 2010

Around the State on Memorial Day Weekend. 

Over this Memorial Day Weekend, the American Automobile Association (AAA) projects that travel originating in Florida will drop 4.8 percent from a year ago. With so many things to do right here in Florida, no one has to leave the state, or travel far, for entertainment.  There’s a little something for everyone.  And I do mean everyone.

 7th Annual Urban Beach week (Miami Beach):  Called the ultimate beach party for the Hip Hop culture. Four days of food, festivities, and concerts.  Extravagant parties and festivals celebrating the urban lifestyle.  Concerts, contests, fashion shows and more.

Great American Beach Party (Ft. Lauderdale):  Special appearance by Connie Francis, star of the 1960 classic movie Where the Boys Are. This party celebrates the film’s 50th anniversary.  According to Ft. Lauderdale mayor John P. Seiler, this will be “a one-of-a-kind event that pays tribute to this film and captures the spirit and nostalgia of the 1960s.”  Hula hoop, limbo, Twister contests.  Classic Car Show.  Evening screening of Where the Boys Are.

 22nd Annual Blue Crab Festival (Palatka):  Enjoy live entertainment and food along the banks of the St. John’s Riverfront.  Seafood Cookoff begins at 10:00 a.m. Saturday.  Enjoy seafood chowders and gumbos. Take your turn on the mechanical bull, jump on a helicopter for $10, or take a camel ride for only $5.  Attend the Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony on Monday.

58th Annual Florida Folk Festival (White Springs): This annual festival, held at the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, celebrates Florida’s land, people and culture.  Native Floridian Mel Tillis will be performing on Saturday evening.  Also check out Blind Buddy Moody singing the country blues, or catch a gospel, bluegrass or Irish fiddle concert.  Try some kumquat pie.  Walk among traditional crafters. Attend a workshop on food, dance, or environmental awareness. Don’t miss the old-time banjo contest and Florida State Fiddle Contest.

Jazz Festival (Jacksonville):  Jacksonville is celebrating all things jazz over Memorial Day Weekend.  A jazz parade, jazz art exhibit, and numerous concerts by the likes of Patti LaBelle, Spyro Gyra, Basia, Buckwheat Zydeco, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and many more.   Other events include the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition, Jazz Brunches, and Jazz Juniors educational activities at the Main Library.

WWII Event at Fort Clinch (Amelia Island):  This event honors the men and women who served during World War II.  Explore military displays. Learn about uniforms, weapons, and lifestyles from the 1940s.

Memorial Day Weekend Pride 2010/Monster Beach Party 2010 (Pensacola): Five-day weekend celebrating gay pride. 

Florida Aquarium (Tampa):  Active, retired and drilling reservist or National Guard members get two free tickets to the Aquarium anytime during the 3 day holiday.