No shortage of 4th fun in the Keys

Fireworks are planned throughout the Keys.
Fireworks are planned throughout the Keys.

There are a lot of quirky things about the Keys but the Fourth of July isn’t one of them. Islands residents celebrate Independence Day just like anywhere else, with parades, picnics and parties topped off by fireworks displays.

In Key West, the 33rd annual July 4 beachfront picnic and fireworks celebration is to benefit the Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of the Florida Keys. Doors open at 5 p.m. at the Casa Marina Resort, 1500 Reynolds St., for food, live music, family games, a silent auction and more. Fireworks are to begin at 9 p.m.

A traditional picnic buffet offers hamburgers, hot dogs, popcorn, watermelon and drink for $25 per adult, $15 per child ages 4 to 12 and free for children 3 and younger, admission included. General admission tickets, excluding food and beverage, are $10 per person. Also available are VIP beachfront seats priced at $150 per person with a lavish buffet. Call (305) 320-0676.

Since 1976, the Rotary Club of Key West has presented the island’s annual fireworks show. Staged from the Edward B. Knight Pier (formerly called the White Street Pier) overlooking the Atlantic Ocean where White Street meets Atlantic Avenue, fireworks are to begin at 9 p.m. Those attending can purchase food, drinks, burgers and hot dogs to benefit the Rotary Club’s scholarship funds at a booth across from the pier on Atlantic Avenue. Visit keywestrotary.com or call (305) 304-6963.

The Big Pine & Lower Keys Rotary Club is to host pre-Independence Day activities beginning at 5 p.m. July 3 at the Big Pine Community Park, 31009 Atlantis Drive, bayside of mile marker 30 of U.S. 1. Attractions include vendors, food, beverages, games, family activities and entertainment by the Prime Movers and Island Harmony Singers. Fireworks are scheduled at 9 p.m. Admission is free but no coolers, pets or personal fireworks are allowed. Call (305) 923-5370.

In Marathon, the free-admission Sombrero Beach, off mile marker 50 oceanside at the end of Sombrero Beach Road, is the site of one of the Keys’ largest and longest fireworks displays, produced by the Rotary Club of Marathon. As well as spectators on land, hundreds of boaters traditionally line up for colorful on-the-water views of the fiery dazzlers.

Families can gather for a full day of beachside activities beginning with a patriotic parade at 10:30 a.m., following a route from Marathon High School on Sombrero Beach Road to the beachfront. The daylong celebration includes hamburgers and hot dogs, cold drinks, kids’ crafts and live music. Call (305) 743-5417.

In Islamorada, the village’s Independence Day celebration is to be held from 6 to 10 p.m. July 4 at Founders Park at mile marker 87 bayside with family fun, food and fireworks. Food and drinks are to be available for purchase. Vendors are to include Chef Drew’s Island Catering, Craig’s Restaurant, the M.E.A.T. Eatery & Taproom, IL Pizzarello and Polar Ice.

Beer, rum punch, soda and water can be purchased, with all proceeds to benefit the Upper Keys Rotary Foundation. A baked apple pie contest is set for 6 p.m. Live entertainment is to be provided by the Carousers and Leah Sutter. On-site parking is $5 per vehicle. Call (305) 664-4503.

In Key Largo, the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce and the Reporter newspaper are to host an annual July 4 parade and picnic from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The old-fashioned community event is to be held at the Key Largo Community Park, 500 St. Croix Place (around mile marker 100) and includes vendors, hot dogs and beverages. Call (305) 451-1414.

At approximately 10 p.m. in Key Largo the annual bayfront Blackwater Sound fireworks celebration at mile marker 104 is to provide a dazzling display of shimmering lights. Best seating can be found at Sundowners, Señor Frijoles, Cactus Jack’s, the Marriott Key Largo Bay Resort and the Caribbean Club. Call (305) 451-4502.