This weekend’s patriotic celebrations include everything from parades and pony rides to block parties and live music (including a bluegrass/folk concert at Naples Botanical Garden and country singer Heidi Newfield in downtown Cape Coral’s Red, White & Boom festival).
Here are some of the three-day weekend’s biggest events:
Monday, July 4
4th of july
– Star Spangled Bonita: Bonita Springs celebrates the Fourth of July with live bands, contests and a laser-light/fireworks show. 6 p.m. Free admission. There will also be a parade at 9 a.m. traveling along Old 41 from Bonita Drive to Pennsylvania Avenue. Riverside Park, Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs. 949-6260 or cityofbonitasprings.org
– Heidi Newfield headlines Red White & Boom: The country star performs at Cape Coral’s annual Fourth of July celebration. The former Trick Pony singer and lead guitarist recently released the single “Stay Up Late.” The celebration starts at 4 p.m. and ends with fireworks after Newfield’s 8 p.m. concert. Other activities include kids games and activities (including an obstacle course and rock wall), food, arts and crafts vendors and a 5K race at 6:30 p.m. Free admission. The foot of the Cape Coral Bridge at Cape Coral Parkway and Del Prado Boulevard, Cape Coral. 549-6900 or capecoralchamber.com
– Free Patriotic Concert: The Veterans Foundation of Cape Coral and The City of Cape Coral present “A Tribute to America in Honor of our Veterans.” The Cultural Park Theatre Players perform. 10 a.m. to noon. Free admission. There will also be a Vietnam veterans honor guard ceremony. Free bottled water. Takes place at the pavilion outside Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve, located on the east end of Southeast 23rd Terrace, Cape Coral (near the Iwo Jima statue).
– Freedom Fest: The annual block party features DJ Tommy Tunes and kids activities and play areas starting at 2 p.m.; live bands on six stages starting at 6 p.m. (Deb & The Dynamics, Strange Arrangement, High Tide, No Way Jose, Fakahatchee and Memphis 56); and fireworks at 9:30 p.m., choreographed to music broadcast by radio station 102.9 BOB FM. Free admission. For $5, you can sit in a preferred viewing area in the Harborside Event Center parking lot (children get in free). Live music resumes after the fireworks, and downtown bars, restaurants and stores will offer discounts with the purchase of a $10 wristband. Proceeds from wristband sales go to American Legion Post 38 and the River District Alliance. Downtown Fort Myers. 855-732-3836.
Fort Myers Beach
– Fort Myers Beach Parade and Fireworks: The annual Fourth of July parade starts at 10 a.m. at Beach Elementary School, 2751 Oak St., Fort Myers Beach. The Sky Bridge will close at 9:45 a.m. and reopen after the parade ends, about 90 minutes later. Fireworks start at 9 p.m. off the Times Square pier at Lynn Hall Memorial Park, 950 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach. 454-7500
– Pine Island’s Fourth of July Parade & Fireworks: The parade starts at at 10 a.m. at Winn-Dixie Center, 9864 Stringfellow Road, Pine Island. It then travels north to the Elks Lodge, 5630 Pine Island Road. An all-day celebration follows at the American Legion, 4106 Stringfellow Road. That includes a barbecue and live bands. Free admission. The event concludes with fireworks at dusk, weather permitting. 283-5270
– Annual parade: The island’s annual Fourth of July parade starts at 9:30 a.m. on Periwinkle Way. It travels from Tarpon Bay Road to Casa Ybel Road. Various businesses along the parade route will have events and entertainment. No fireworks were scheduled at press time, although a private group was trying to raise money to pay for a fireworks show. 472-3700
San Carlos Park
– San Carlos Park Fourth of July Parade: The 21st annual parade starts at 8:30 a.m. at the corner of U.S. 41 and Sanibel Boulevard, and it continues to Three Oaks Community Park. There will be no festival following the parade this year. Three Oaks Community Park, 18251 Three Oaks Parkway, Fort Myers. 410-8747
– Fireworks Extravaganza, Parade and 5K Race: The Firecracker 5K Race starts at 9 a.m. at Fleischmann Park, 1600 Fleischmann Blvd., Naples. Entry fee is $10 ($15 the day before the race, $20 the day of the race, $10 for students at any time. Gulf Coast Runners members get a discount). To register, go to gcrunner.org.
The parade starts at 10 a.m. in downtown Naples and travels from Broad Avenue South to Third Street South, Fifth Avenue South and Eighth Street.
Fireworks start at 9 p.m. at the Naples Pier and feature a 25-minute display set to patriotic music (tune your radio to WAVV 101.1 FM). Downtown Naples. 213-7113 or naplesgov.com.
– Fourth of July Fireworks Cruise: Celebrate on the water with an unobstructed view of the fireworks. Includes free champagne, a sweet treat and patriotic music. 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $60 ($50 for ages 12 and younger). Reservations required. Cruise Naples, located at the corner of 12th Street South and Sixth Avenue South in Tin City, Naples. 263-4949
– Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim and Fourth Of July Celebration: The annual Freedom Swim features hundreds of swimmers and boaters. The 1.5-mile swim starts at 9 a.m. on the north end of the U.S. 41 bridge and ends at Fisherman’s Village, 1200 W. Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda. Live bands play at the Village throughout the day. No signups or prizes for the swim. 941-639-8721
– Bayshore Fourth of July Celebration: Soft-rock duo Beans and Seeds perform at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by fireworks. Free admission. Hot dogs and soft drinks will be sold, and people can also bring picnic meals. Bayshore Live Oak Park, 22959 Bayshore Road, Port Charlotte. 941-235-5013
Saturday, July 9
– Third annual Freedom Photo: Past and present military personnel are invited for this photo shoot honoring the sacrifices made by local veterans to safeguard our freedoms. The appreciation ceremony includes the singing of the national anthem, a reenactment of “The Last Patrol” Vietnam War mission, guest speaker John Sullivan (mayor of Cape Coral), refreshments, live music and the Freedom Photo shoot. Photo shoot participants are encouraged to wear their uniform, colors and patches. All participants will receive a copy of the photo. 11 a.m. Free. Fort Myers Harley-Davidson, 2160 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers. 275-4647 or hdfortmyers.com