MIAMI (CBSMiami) - If you're heading down to the Keys over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, you may want to check out how the locals celebrate Independence Day.
If you're planning on staying in Key Largo, don't miss the 40th annual Fourth of July parade which gets at 10 a.m. from the parking lot at Anthony's Clothing Store, MM 98.2 on the center median of U.S. Highway 1 in Key Largo, and ends at MM 100. Awards are to be presented for most original entry, most beautiful and best portrayal of the theme. A free-admission community picnic, barbecue, vendor booths, kids' games, live music and a nighttime fireworks show are planned to follow the parade and be staged at Rowell's Marina, MM 104.5 bayside. Parking is free.
Blackwater Sound provides the perfect nighttime mirrorlike surface to make the annual fireworks display seem like a 3-D viewing experience designed to dazzle. The show is to take place on the bayfront in Key Largo at 10 p.m., July 4. The best seating can be found at Jimmy Johnson's Big Chill, Sundowners and Senior Frijoles restaurants, Caribbean Club and Marriott Key Largo Bay Resort, all located around mile marker (MM) 104 bayside.
Just down the way in Islamorada, the popular Spirit of Islamorada July 4 celebration will held at Founders Park, MM 87 on Plantation Key. Hosted by the Village of Islamorada and the Upper Keys Rotary Club, the event features entertainment, food and drinks for kids, teens, adults — and even dogs. The party is to run 6-9:30 p.m., followed by a fireworks show. An admission fee of $10 is to be charged to nonresidents.
All weekend long you can check out the Marathon Super Boat Offshore Grand Prix. Free admission to view the boats and meet drivers and crews from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the race village dry pits at the Florida Keys Marathon Airport, mile marker (MM) 51 bayside. Race day is Sunday with free general race viewing at Marathon's Sunset Park, MM 47, a prime spectator location at the base of the Seven Mile Bridge at Knight's Key. Private boats are to have designated bayside viewing areas as well.
For one of the Keys' largest and longest fireworks displays, families gather for a full day of activities in Marathon for a patriotic parade that begins around 10:30 a.m. and proceeds from Marathon High School on Sombrero Beach Road (MM 50 oceanside) to free-admission Sombrero Beach, where a daylong celebration features food, drink, kids' crafts and entertainment, capped off after dark with fireworks.
The Big Pine & Lower Keys Rotary Club will celebrate July 4th on July 3rd at the Big Pine Community Park, located at 31009 Atlantis Road. Co-sponsored by the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, activities include live music headline by Haywire, food and ice-cold beverages accompanied by games and activities for both adults and kids. An expanded fireworks show is set to go off at nightfall or about 9 p.m. Admission is free, but no coolers, pets or personal fireworks will be allowed. Gates open at 5 p.m.
And finally, if you destination is Key West, check out the city's third annual Key Lime Festival which features a wacky Miss Key Lime Pageant, pie-eating and cooking contests. A Key Lime Martini and Margarita Sip and Stroll will kickoff the weekend-long event. The highlight, the July 4th Mile-High Key lime Pie Eating Contest beginning at 11 a.m. at Sloppy Joe's Bar.
Looking for for fireworks, the head on over to the 31st Annual Hospice of the Florida Keys & Visiting Nurse Association Picnic which benefits Hospice of the Florida Keys and the Visiting Nurse Association. It takes place at the luxurious Casa Marina Resort & Beach Club, located at 1500 Reynolds Street. The celebration is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. with fireworks starting at 9 p.m., courtesy of the Key West Rotary Club. Live music, a silent auction and lots of children's games round out the fun-filled family festivities.
More details on Florida Keys events at www.fla-keys.com.
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