Just add water to make any Independence Day celebration even more special. Boat parades, star-spangled races and fireworks over the water are just a few choices. Here are suggestions of ways throughout the southeast to enjoy the Fourth of July.
Anchor in the surrounding bay and enjoy a front row seat of back-to-back fireworks on July 3 and 4. On July 3, beach music band, “Coolin’ Out” will perform at the ‘Thank Goodness it’s Ocean View’ concert series. Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. and are lit right off Ocean View beach shoreline. On July 4, it’s the ‘Great American Picnic’ from 5 pm to 10 pm at Norfolk Town Point Park. Admission is free with hamburgers and hot dogs available for purchase. The fireworks light up the sky over the Elizabeth River starting at 9:30 pm. “Boaters who anchor out don’t have the struggle of parking and have the freedom to enjoy both of these holiday experiences in their own way,” invites Jason Nichols, managing director of Norfolk Festevents, Ltd. festevents.org
Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
‘Red, White & Southern’ is the theme for the 32nd Murrells Inlet Fourth of July Boat Parade. The parade, which takes place along the waters of this historic fishing village located 10 miles south of Myrtle Beach, starts at 10 a.m. on July 4th. “Boats decorate to patriotic themes and parade through the inlet. The parade is open to everyone. The cost to enter is only $5,” says Lee Hewitt, one of the organizers. The fun isn’t done when the parade ends. There is a fireworks show over the inlet at 10:00 p.m. Those planning to participate or view by boat need to launch from the public boat landing prior to 9:00 a.m. as Department of Natural Resources officials close the landing one hour prior to the event. www.facebook.com/MurrellsInletBoatParade
Warm up for a fun Fourth of July at Seville Square. From 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. there will be arts and crafts vendors, live entertainment, children’s activities such as a bouncy house and pony rides, food vendors and a Hot Dog Eating Contest that will take place at noon. The fun culminates with a fireworks show – the largest on the Gulf Coast – over Pensacola Bay starting at 9 p.m. “The Fourth of July in the Pensacola Bay area is a special treat for boaters. How often can you sit in your boat with a glorious fireworks display playing over your head? Turn your radio to one of our local stations (Cat Country WYCT 98.7 FM), where you will find a synchronized musical broadcast, or make up your own playlist. Either way, it is sure to be a celebration you will never forget,” says Brooke Fleming, communications manager for www.VisitPensacola.com
Feed a need for speed and a festive holiday too at the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival, June 27 to July 6. Over 30 race teams from around the world will compete aboard traditional race boats and, new this year, Powerboat P1 USA’s fleet of 8 powerboats and over 40 jet-skis off Lido Beach on July 4 and 5. This week-long festival offers a number of other activities that provide something for every one of the over 110,000 visitors that attend. These include a car show, kickoff party at the Sarasota Yacht Club, golf tournament, festival parade of boats, downtown block party and Meet & Greet Who’s in the Driver’s Seat reception. The Fireworks Spectacular over Sarasota Bay takes place on July 4 starting at dusk. “The festival is such a positive experience that it’s one you don’t really want to miss,” says Jackie Byrd, executive assistant of the beneficiary, Suncoast Charities for Children. www.sarasotapowerboatgrandprix.org