Happy 238th Birthday USA, a guide to Central Florida fireworks and events
By Peter Covino
There is something magical about seeing the patriotic fireworks display at the Magic Kingdom on July 4.
But you can most definitely get more bang out of your buck this Fourth of July by staying here in Osceola County instead of venturing out to the theme parks.
Once again, there are three big options for Independence Day, with two traditional celebrations in Kissimmee and St. Cloud, and a more out-of-this-world patriotic event at Celebration.
The Kissimmee event, usually the largest in the county, is themed “A Monumental July 4th Celebration” and will be held at Kissimmee Lakefront Park.
The event starts at 5 p.m. and continues through the night with the grand finale fireworks scheduled for 9:10 p.m.
Admission is free, and in addition to fireworks, there will be live music and lots of things for youngsters to do at the KUA Kids Power Zone.
As always, there will be vendors selling food and beer.
But this year, the food options will be a lot more interesting with the addition of the monthly Friday Food Truck Bazaar. The food trucks, normally parked along the Kissimmee Civic Center, will be at Lakeside Park for the big event.
Expected truck participants include: Au Naturel, Baboyz, C&S Brisket Bus, Cafe Rouge, Charlie’s Bakery, ChiPhi, Dixieland Diner,El Cactus Azul, El Cubanito, In Yer Belly, Korean BBQ Taco Box, La Empanada, Melissa’s Chicken & Waffles, Monsta Lobsta, Rubio’s Baja Grill, Tastebuds, The Crepe Company, Treasure Island Treats, Up in Smoke BBQ, Voodoo Kitchen, Wako Taco and Yum Yum Cupcakes.
The live music schedule is from 5 to 9:10 p.m. and includes music tribute bands from the 1970’s to a current music mix. The Tribute to America will be held on Stage at 8:45 p.m. followed by the fireworks display.
Free parking is available at the City Hall parking lot and at the county’s parking lots and garage. Parking at the various lots is limited, so early arrival is the best policy. While most parking lots will be open throughout the day, the County Parking Garage opens at 5 p.m. for the event.
Note: Several downtown area streets will be closed from 2 to 10 p.m. on July 4. The list includes:
- Ruby at Lakeview – Soft Closure with access to the American Legion and vendor parking area.
- Monument and railroad tracks.
- Neptune Ave. and Lakeshore Blvd.
- Neptune Ave. from Lakeshore to Tohopekaliga Ave. including:
Lakeshore Dr., Jacaranda Ln., Oleander Ln., E. Drury and Tohopekaliga
- E. Monument Ave. and Johnston St.
- Monument Ave. from Lakeshore to the Rail Road tracks
For the latest developments call 407-518-2576 or visit www.KissimmeeParks.org.
St. Cloud’s celebration actually begins Thursday night, July 3, with the annual Margarita Party. Hosted by the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce, the Key West style party, features the band, Volcano Joe and the Hot Lava Band. At 6:45 p.m., the beach volleyball games kicks off.
The main event is Friday at the July 4th Celebration. Entertainment starts at 3 p.m. with music, food and family games.
The Osceola Community Choir takes the stage at 8:15 p.m. with patriotic music and a veteran’s tribute set to video.
The evening ends with fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
For the untraditional July 4 celebration, Celebration Town Center once again presents A Sci-Fi Fourth of July.
Among the highlights: A movie-themed costume contest at 7:30 p.m. where everyone is encouraged to come dressed as your favorite character for a chance to win some big prizes. There will be two categories, one for kids and a second for adults (ages 16 and up).
Other highlights include a synchronized fireworks display set to a Sci-Fi themed soundtrack. The day also features bounce houses for the kids, live music by Oliver’s Queen, Gina Marie Incandela, DJ Tami and a tribute to veterans.
Fireworks are scheduled for 9:30 p.m. and the event continues until 11 p.m.
Parking and admission to the event is free. Shuttle rides will be available from 215 Celebration Place. Park and ride shuttle service begins at 5 p.m.
You can get a jump on the holiday as the City of Altamonte Springs and XL106.7 once again host Red Hot & Boom.
The 2014 Independence Day celebration, actually held July 3, features fireworks and chart topping musical artists and entertainers at Cranes Roost Park. Red Hot & Boom is the largest Independence Day celebration in Central Florida. The concerts are simulcast on XL106.7. Vendors will be located throughout the festival location for attendees to purchase of food, beverages and souvenirs. For additional information visit www.UptownAltamonte.com. The celebration is July 3 from 4 to 11 p.m. with fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
Downtown Orlando is has one of the area’s biggest July 4 events (actually on July 4) with Fireworks at the Fountain. Held at Lake Eola Park, the festivities start at 4 p.m. There are various activities along the lakefront with the fireworks set for 9:10 p.m.
Downtown Sanford also has a lakefront fireworks display, scheduled for about 9:15 p.m.