Everyone loves fireworks, and there is no better way to round out your Independence Day celebration than to watch a local fireworks display. It’s patriotic because it reminds us of the battle described in our national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner, and it’s also almost always free. Up and down the Southwest Florida coast, towns and businesses take part in this tradition. No matter where you are in the Fort Myers area, there will be a fireworks display within a few miles. Each town has its own traditional celebration, and the fireworks show is often the finale to a day’s worth of Fourth of July activities. Let’s get started.
Downtown Fort Myers:
Freedom Fest Block Party. As reported in the News-Press, “the River District Alliance hosts the annual Fourth of July block party featuring food, five outdoor stages with live music, a kids zone, a craft beer area and more. The block party takes place 5-11 p.m., but people can stay downtown until 2 a.m. Popular Rolling Stones tribute band U.S. Stones performs on the main stage from 8-9:30 p.m. and 10-11 p.m. Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. and will be launched from the city pier. Free. Free parking everywhere but city parking garages. Lawn chairs and coolers are allowed in Centennial Park but not elsewhere. Downtown Fort Myers. 855-732-3836 or riverdistrictevents.com” The River District promises a “huge fireworks display,” and their block parties never disappoint.
Red, White and Boom Fourth of July Celebration. If Cape Coral is more convenient for you, their “annual celebration starts at 4 p.m. with live entertainment and activities stretching from the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge to Del Prado Boulevard. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. near the foot of the bridge. Bands include country act Blackwater, blues act Mike Imbasciani and his Bluezrockerz, and nationally known country singer Kelleigh Bannen. 4-10:30 p.m. Free. There is also a 5K race at 7 a.m. on the bridge. Cape Coral Parkway in downtown Cape Coral, just east of Del Prado Boulevard. 573-3128 or capeboom.com
Fort Myers Beach
If celebrating at the beach is more your thing, try the Fort Myers Beach Fireworks and Festival. “The annual Fourth of July parade starts at 10 a.m. and travels along Estero Boulevard from Oaks Street to Times Square. The Matanzas Bridge will be closed from 9:30 a.m.-noon and 9:30 p.m.-midnight. The festival starts at noon at Times Square and features live music and a hot-dog-eating contest at 2 p.m. The festival culminates with fireworks off the pier from 9-9:30 p.m. Free. Parking is limited. Free trolley service is available all day. Times Square and Fort Myers Beach Pier, 1000 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach.” Remember, parking can be challenging and pricey. Consider using the trolley instead.
Star-Spangled Bonita Celebration. “The annual celebration features children's activities, eating contests, an old-fashioned bed race, a laser-light show/fireworks display after dark and live entertainment by The Sarah Hadeka Band and Railhead. To preregister for the 5 p.m. bed race, call the YMCA at 275.9622 or visit swflymca.org/programs/races-events. There will also be a 5K Rotary Run at 7:30 a.m. and a parade along Old U.S. 41 Road at 9 a.m. To register for the run, visit bonitaspringsrotary.org or active.com. Star-Spangled Bonita takes place 4 p.m. to about 9:30 p.m. Riverside Park, 10450 Reynolds St., Bonita Springs. 949-6262 or cityofbonitasprings.org.
Can’t get enough fireworks? On Thursday the 3rd, you can join Miromar Outlets at its 15th Annual Have a Blast Independence Eve Fireworks Show. Family fun entertainment will begin at 6 p.m. with the Mark Kobie Trio performing live, children can have their face painted and create balloon animals in the MundoFox Playland. Keep the Faith, Bon Jovi Arena Tribute Show, will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. and fireworks will go off at DUSK.
Whatever you decide to do, have a happy and safe Independence Day!