4th of July
Summer plans may look different this year, due to the global health crisis. While many people would ordinarily be heading out on July 4th to see local fireworks displays, some towns have decided not to hold these festivities at all to avoid crowds and the potential spread of COVID-19. But even with all these snags to celebrating Independence Day, the fireworks shows will still go on — just online. There are a number of ways to stream 4th of July fireworks or watch them on TV instead of going out in person.
St. Petersburg’s waterfront fireworks display and Tampa’s annual Boom by the Bay officially bit the dust last week amid concerns about crowds and the coronavirus. From Safety Harbor to Siesta Key, fetes for the Fourth are finished, for now.
However, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law this year that makes setting off fireworks officially legal on Independence Day. (And on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, too.) And if you do plan to buy, buy early. Stores and roadside tents get especially crowded on July 3 and 4, and crowds are to be avoided.
How to Stream 4th of July Fireworks
How to Watch the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks on NBC
Watch the D.C. Fireworks on PBS
Top 3 Hot Spots to buy
Fireworks in Tampa
- Phantom Fireworks of South Tampa
3642 W Gandy Blvd
- Pyro Junkie Fireworks
11207 N Nebraska Ave.
- Phantom Fireworks of Tampa
1031 E Fowler Ave.
If you choose to partake, here are some tips from the experts:
- Light only one at a time.
- Keep a bucket of water, a garden hose or a fire extinguisher nearby.
- If a device does not ignite ― if it’s a dud — don’t stand over it to investigate. And do not try to relight it.
- Don’t drink alcohol or wear loose clothing if you’re lighting fireworks.
- Keep spectators a healthy distance away.
- From Siddle at Pyro Junkie: Customers should not be shy about asking questions. “Ask the sales staff if you don’t know what something does,” he said. Safety is particularly important this year “especially since there might be a big boost in people not familiar with it.”
What to do instead
If you want to stay at home, you can plan something as inexpensive as firing up the grill and baking patriotic desserts; or you can go all-out and plan a big barbecue for your quarantine pod. If you’d rather enjoy the warm summer weather and your day off work, you can get out of town and see something new or enjoy a staycation in Tampa Bay with the lens of a tourist.The 4th of July is often an exciting day of summer that involves friends and family coming together for a bunch of delicious food, fun outdoor activities, and, of course, to celebrate America’s independence. But this year, due to COVID-19 and social distancing, your 4th of July probably won’t look like it has in years past. But that’s no reason to cancel your celebration; there are still plenty of fun 4th of July activities that you can do and still safely practice social distancing.
If you do go out, make sure to abide by:
- What are the rules? Face coverings must be worn inside all indoor establishments in Hillsborough County.
- When do I have to start following them? The order goes into effect Wednesday, June 24 at 5 p.m.
- What happens if I don’t wear a mask? You won’t be penalized, but you might be thrown out. Businesses are required to enforce the mask order and can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, a penalty of up to 60 days in jail, and/or six months’ probation, and a $500 fine if they don’t.
- What are the exceptions? The mandate does not apply to children under 2, persons with pre-existing medical conditions that would be worsened by a mask, hearing-impaired persons, those working in a profession that would be unable to perform their duties with a mask such as public safety, exercising, eating and drinking, or those already observing federal social distancing guidelines (the 6-foot rule).
- What are the rules? Face coverings must be worn inside all businesses, government offices, and schools in Pasco County.
- When do I have to start following them? Enforcement will begin Thursday, June 25 at 5 p.m.
- What happens if I don’t wear a mask? You likely won’t be able to enter the business or will be removed once inside. Individual business owners are required to enforce the ordinance or may face a fine up to $250.
- What are the exceptions? The mandate does not apply to children under 2, persons with pre-existing medical conditions that would be worsened by a mask, hearing-impaired persons, exercising or engaging in indoor sporting activities, eating and drinking, or those already observing federal social distancing guidelines (the 6-foot rule). Its enforcement cannot conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- What are the rules? Face coverings must be worn in all indoor public places in Pinellas County.
- When do I have to follow them? The order goes into effect Wednesday, July 24 at 5 p.m.
- What if I don’t wear a mask? You may be prevented from entering a business –– and you can also be fined by the police. Customers not wearing a mask can receive a civil citation of $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second, and $500 for a third. Additional repeat violations may result in a misdemeanor arrest.
- What are the exceptions? The mandate does not apply to government entities or hospitals, persons under 18, those already observing federal social distancing guidelines (the 6-foot rule), persons with pre-existing medical conditions that would be worsened by a mask, hearing-impaired persons, exercising, or religious rituals such as singing. Its enforcement cannot conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additional regulations are in place for restaurant and bar employees.
- What are the rules? Face coverings must be worn indoors outside the home at all times in the city of Tampa.
- When do I have to follow them? The order went into effect Friday, June 19 at 5 p.m.
- What if I don’t wear a mask? You could get a civil citation of up to $500. Businesses can also receive a $500 civil citation for failing to enforce the mask order.
- What are the exceptions? The city’s exemptions are the same as Hillsborough County’s.
Celebrate on the beach
Fred Howard Park is a popular beach and nature preserve located on the north end of Tampa Bay’s barrier islands. The Park is connected by a mile-long causeway to the charming town of Tarpon Springs home to the area’s famous sponge docks. In addition to allowing visitors access to white sand expanses, the Park offers protection to endangered Florida habitat and wildlife. Visitors are likely to catch glimpses of local wildlife, including nesting ospreys and eagles as well as dolphins and manatees. Amenities include picnic areas and playgrounds.
Recommended for Beaches because: Fred Howard Beach is both a gorgeous expanse of white sand and a protected nature preserve, perfect for beach and nature lovers.
Indian Rocks Beach offers expansive white sand beaches with less emphasis on commercial development. It is a quiet, less crowed alternative to some of the more popular beaches. Public beach access is wonderful with over 20 entries to the sand but amenities are minimal with showers, restrooms and parking. The surrounding area features a mixture of residential and vacation rentals – you won’t find any big chain hotels here. In spite of its laid-back atmosphere, there is still plenty to do here with skim boarding being a popular pastime. Check out the friendly surf shops to find rentals and lessons. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from when you want to take a break from the beach.
Recommended for Beaches because: Indian Rocks Beach offers expansive white sand beaches with ample public access without the crowds and commercialism.
Sand Key is the spot if you’re searching for tranquil, family-friendly Tampa Bay beaches. Explore Sand Key Park just south of Clearwater. This beautiful park is both park and beach offering visitors access to both white sand and a boardwalk and nature trail. If you come at the right time of year, you can observe the sea turtles nesting on the beach. So, whether you’re looking to view Florida wildlife or are just looking to swim and sunbathe, this is the ideal location. Situated on a barrier island between the Gulf and the Florida mainland, the park offers plenty of parking space, picnic shelters, shower and restroom facilities and a playground for the kids.
Recommended for Beaches because: Sand Key Park offers visitors the best of both worlds with a beautiful sandy beach and family park amenities.
Honeymoon Island is the jumping off point to Caladesi Island. Honeymoon Island has plenty of beautiful beach to offer visitors as well and you don’t have to take a boat to get there. In addition to its 4-mile expanse of white sand, the Island includes a several nature trails and bird observation areas where you can find nesting Ospreys and a variety of water birds. Visitors can learn more at the Rotary Nature Center. The Island offers plenty of amenities including a concession and restaurant where, in addition to food, you can find umbrella, chair and kayak rentals. Families will enjoy the picnic area complete with playground and covered pavilions in case of rain.
Recommended for Beaches because: Honeymoon Island is a natural paradise with four miles of white sand beach with full amenities and an undisturbed nature sanctuary featuring nesting Ospreys.
Fort De Soto is the spot if you have ever wanted to camp on the beach. This is a great spot to do it! Fort De Soto Park consists of over 1,000 acres of preserved land that covers five interconnected islands. These islands are home to numerous forms of wildlife that live in the Park’s beach grasses, mangroves, wetlands, and palm hammocks. The beaches are wonderful and there is a calm lagoon protected by sand bars that provides a safe place for little ones to play. There is also a 7-mile paved trail for biking and walking. Included in the park’s extensive list of amenities are two piers where visitors can fish without licenses, a dog park and beach area, and kayak and bike rentals.
Recommended for Beaches because: Fort De Soto Park is a family-friendly favorite with beautiful beaches and a host of other amenities including on-beach camping.
For the full list click here.
Lounge in the pool or have a
Socially Distanced BBQ
and use these recipes
If the holiday snuck up on you this year, these fruit skewers are the perfect last-minute patriotic addition to your BBQ buffet. Simply by threading blueberries and strawberries on a skewer and drizzling white chocolate on top, you’ll create a tasty treat that looks like it took you all day. (via Nourished Peach)
Kids will love helping you make (and eat!) this Jello treat. If you want to make a separate adults-only batch with a bit of vodka, we won’t judge you. (via Brown Eyed Baker)
Click here for even more festive 4th of July recipes.
4th of July Cocktails
Red, White and Blue Wine Spritzer: White wine spritzers are a classic summer beverage for a reason. Add some blue and red and you’ve got yourself a killer cocktail for America’s birthday. (via pretty plain janes)
Snow Cone Drinks: This drink is equal parts nostalgia and party-in-a-glass. Slightly on the sweeter side, we wouldn’t have too many or you can expect a killer hangover on the 5th. (via Kirbie’s Cravings)
Blueberry Coconut Sparkler: Fresh blueberries, coconut rum and ginger ale combine to make a festive drink with just the right hint of tropical paradise. The coconut flakes on the rim are a fun final touch. (via Pizzazzerie)
Purple Independence: Who says everything’s gotta be red, white and blue? This cocktail’s color makes it a little bit of (delicious) rebellion in a glass and a pretty addition to your table. (via A Year of Cocktails)
Star Spangled Spritzer: This fruity summer drink is easily made non-boozy by swapping out the white wine for ginger ale, making it a great option for a family-friendly affair. Just make sure to clearly mark your pitchers before serving! (via Celebrating Everyday Life)
Click here for more 4th of July cocktails and mocktails.
Looking to celebrate the 4th
Out on the town?
Check out these local events
(Due to the nature of event cancellations make sure to check links for potential cancellations)
Live music by one of the best saxophone players around and his band! Private firework display around 9PM complementary of Starkey Blueberry Farm.
JUL 4 | 5PM-10PM
Celebrate America with a cold brew in hand, while showing off your dance moves. 3 Daughters Brewing will be ringing in America’s birthday with live music from the Josh Gilbert Band from 1PM-5PM. And if you’re a big fan of their beers, bring some home with you! All six packs will be BOGO all weekend long.
JUL 4 | 11:30AM-6PM
3 Daughters Brewing
If you want to feel like a kid again, then head to Time Out Seminole for a BBQ cookout to celebrate America. There will be cornhole tournaments, Giant Jenga, Connect 4, flip cup and trash can pong for the big kids (at heart) to enjoy.
For the real kids? There will be sandbox digs, spin wheel, water balloon toss, ring toss and more. What more could you ask for?! Ok, fine, let’s give you more! There will also be food and drink specials, and prizes for all of the games that will be played.
JUL 4 | 12PM-4PM
Time Out Seminole
Bert’s Barracuda Harley Davidson just made finding 4th of July plans easy. Nothing screams ‘MERICA like a good ol’ fashion hot dog eating contest, spiked watermelon eating contest and Blueberry pie contest. Which would you win? The spiked watermelon eating contest is calling our names!
There will also be a blood drive, food and beer to enjoy! And did we mention it’s kid friendly? If you didn’t know where to celebrate before, you do now.
JUL 4 | 9AM-5PM
Bert’s Barracuda Harley Davidson
Shuffle over to Tampa Heights and dance all night long. For $25, you get to enjoy a concert, keg beer, hot dogs and hamburgers. Tribal Style will be performing from 4PM-6PM and Sunsetters will play afterwards from 7PM-9PM.
Spend your 4th of July listening to some reggae, staying 6 ft. apart, and wearing a mask. But above all, have fun!
JUL 4 | 4PM–12AM