Do you have a boat? Sail it several miles off the Miami-Dade County shoreline as the sun sets on July 4th, then watch the fireworks explode up and down the coast from Aventura south to Homestead. If the seas are calm and the weather cooperates, you’ll enjoy a spectacular sight.
If you prefer to celebrate on land, choose from a host of pyrotechnic displays. Except as noted, all of these events are free. Here are details:
• Downtown Miami. Bayfront Park at 301 N. Biscayne Blvd. in downtown Miami hosts America’s Birthday Bash with a full day of activities. Included are a Samuel Adams Beer Garden with live music and lawn games from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.; and a free Kids’ Zone from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. One of south Florida’s largest fireworks displays will begin at 9 p.m.
No bottles, cans, coolers, or personal fireworks are allowed in Bayfront Park.
The fireworks also are visible from Bayside Marketplace, just north of the park. Bayside Marketplace houses 150 retailers and restaurants, many of which will extend their hours and offer special promotions for the holiday. As a prelude to the fireworks, the musical groups Sucker Punch and The Grayson Rogers Band will perform on the Marina Stage.
Whether you watch the fireworks from the park or the marketplace, you’ll have the added benefit of being near Metrorail and Metromover. Take public transit to avoid the post-celebration traffic jams that can plague many other viewing locations.
• Miami Beach. Coca-Cola Presents Miami Beach Fire on the Fourth Festival from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the North Shore Park Bandshell at Collins Avenue and 73rd Street. Preceding the fireworks, the festival includes yoga on the beach, food trucks, free entertainment, and live music by the Amber Leigh Band, Marshall Brothers Band, and Spam Allstars. Free shuttle buses between North Beach and 42nd Street/Sheridan Avenue will be available.
• Coconut Grove. The annual Independence Day celebration in this laid-back Miami neighborhood includes an old-fashioned picnic at The Barnacle Historic State Park, 3485 Main Hwy. – Miami’s first house still standing on its original grounds – from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Entertainment in Peacock Park, 2820 McFarlane Rd. (at South Bayshore Drive), begins at 4 p.m. with DJ David G, Blue Man Grove, and First October. The fireworks will start at 9 p.m.
• Key Biscayne. A day-long series of events begins at 11 a.m. with the 55th annual Key Biscayne 4th of July Parade along Crandon Boulevard, followed by the Kiwanis Picnic on the Village Green. At sunset, view the fireworks display from a boat offshore or from the beach. A prime on-land viewing location is the Key Biscayne Beach Club, 685 Ocean Dr. (at the end of East Enid Drive). Parking in this area is limited and is first-come, first-served.
Allow extra driving time on the Rickenbacker Causeway, where construction continues to rebuild the Bear Cut Bridge.
• Coral Gables. Crowds will gather on the grounds of the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., beginning at 5 p.m. The Greater Miami Symphonic Band will perform at 7 p.m., followed by fireworks at 9 p.m. CBS4 newscasters Rick Folbaum and Irika Sargent will be co-masters of ceremonies.
As in the past, Coral Gables will offer free parking and continuous shuttle bus service throughout the evening to and from the Biltmore Hotel. Shuttle service begins at 5 p.m. from the University of Miami’s Ponce garage and BankUnited Center surface lot, the Coral Gables Youth Center at 405 University Dr., and Garage 4 at 345 Andalusia Ave. The last shuttle will depart for the fireworks at 8:30 p.m. One hopes the post-fireworks departure arrangements have improved from past years, when some attendees waited over an hour to board the shuttles.
A new wrinkle for 2014 is a free bicycle valet parking service. Ride your bike to the William H. Kerdyk Biltmore Tennis Center at 1150 Anastasia Ave., and turn it over to the Green Mobility Network, which will provide secure storage from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
• Aventura. The Turnberry Isle Resort Golf Club includes a broad expanse of greenery with ample elbow room for aerial fireworks in the center of Aventura. The display can be seen from anywhere along Country Club Drives, the golf course’s perimeter road, beginning at 9 p.m. If the 4th is a rainout, Aventura will try again at 9 p.m. on July 5th.
• Miami Lakes. The Town of Miami Lakes will hold its 11th annual 4th of July Concert and Fireworks Show at Miami Lakes Picnic Park West, 15151 NW 82nd Ave., beginning at 5 p.m.
• North Miami. The North Miami Independence Day Celebration by the Bay will occupy the grounds of the Kovens Center, 3000 NE 151st St. on Florida International University’s Biscayne Bay Campus. The gates open at 7 p.m. Food will be available for purchase. The event will take place rain or shine. No personal fireworks, coolers, or alcoholic beverages are allowed.
• Hialeah. For 2014, this western city has expanded the scope of its annual celebration in Milander Park, 4800 Palm Ave. Beginning at 4:30 p.m., the 13th Army Florida National Guard Latin Combo Band will perform in the new Milander Center Amphitheater. At 6:30 p.m., the Latin sounds of Carlos Oliva y Los Sobrinos del Juez spice things up on the Coca-Cola/Sedanos Supermarket Stage in Ted Hendricks Stadium, followed by the 13th Army Florida National Guard Band with patriotic musical entertainment. Interactive activities for children will be take place at the Menchie’s Kid Zone. Also available will be refreshments, dancing, and the main event – a spectacular fireworks show after sunset, including a 20-foot state-of-the-art video screen synchronized with music and laser lights.
• South Miami. The annual South Miami 4th of July celebration takes place at Palmer Park, 6100 SW 67th Ave. The gates open at 5 p.m. This event includes live entertainment, a children’s zone, food and beverages, and a fireworks display at 9 p.m.
• Cutler Bay. A parade featuring decorated floats and bicycles begins at 9 a.m. in Whispering Pines Park, at SW 88th Court and Ridgeland Drive. After the parade, a water slide and bounce house will open, and music and entertainment, food and drinks will round out the morning. Watermelon will be served at noon. Sponsoring the event are the Whispering Pines Civic Association, the Whispering Pines Woman’s Club, and the Town of Cutler Bay. In the evening, a free fireworks show will begin at 9 p.m. at Black Point Park & Marina, a county park at 24775 SW 87th Ave. nestled beside the Mount Trashmore landfill. If the wind is right, it’s a good place to bring lawn chairs and a picnic basket, or dine at the on-site Ocean Grill Restaurant. Don’t forget the mosquito repellent.
• Palmetto Bay. Last year Palmetto Bay joined with Cutler Bay to host the fireworks show at Black Point Park & Marina. This year, Palmetto Bay has organized its own first-ever 4th of July celebration in Franjo Triangle just east of Village Hall, along Franjo Road, and in the green space along the western perimeter of Palmetto Bay Park. The free event will include food trucks and merchandise booths, American flags, live music by “The Fire Brigade,” a Fun Zone for children with mechanical rides and a bounce house, games (a hot-dog eating contest, sack race, and three-legged race), street performers (stilt-walkers, jugglers, unicyclists), face painting, an “Around the World” Zumba experience, a beer garden for adults, lounge areas, and what city officials say will be a “giant” fireworks display.
• Homestead. For the fifth year, the City of Homestead’s “Race to the 4th” celebration will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. The event will feature family entertainment, live music from rock-and roll-bands – “Mojo Scoundrels” and “Main Highway” – children’s rides, food and drinks, and games.
The city’s Independence Day fireworks display will occur at 9 p.m. with viewing from the grandstands where the speedway will host NASCAR racing this fall.
Admission is free, but preferred seating for the fireworks and other “4th of July at the Champion’s Club” perks are available for $20 a ticket ($10 for children 7 to 12 years old). For information, call the Homestead Parks and Recreations Department, 305-224-4570.
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