Fourth of July Festivities in Sarasota County

Celebrate America’s birthday with family festivals, picnics and fireworks this Fourth of July 2018

The season for barbeques, beach parties, and fireworks has arrived in Sarasota County. Have a blast on Independence Day 2018 with All-American family festivals, concerts, picnics, parties on the water, and of course the dazzling grand finale: Fourth of July fireworks.

Pre-Independence Day Picnic and Fireworks

Live music kicks off at 4:00 p.m., with fireworks starting at 9:00 p.m., at Fireworks on the Lake at Nathan Benderson Park. This free-admission event is an opportunity to picnic on the grass (bring blankets!) while listening to live soul and blues from The Greg Billings Band and Albert Castiglia — and close out the evening with a spectacular fireworks display. Free standup paddleboard and kayak rentals will be available from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. courtesy of Nathan Benderson Park. Guests are permitted to bring their own food and drinks, however, glass containers and fireworks are prohibited. Please do not bring dogs to this event.

Fourth of July Daytime Festivities

The annual Longboat Key Freedom Fest Parade begins at 9:00 a.m. at Longboat Key Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road. Children, families, and patriotically-dressed pets are encouraged to joined in the parade with Longboat Key police and fire rescue personnel, Commissioners, and creative, patriotic floats from local businesses. Following the parade there will be children's activities and face painting in Bicentennial Park.

The fifth annual Fourth of July Jam Blast Myakka River Kayak Festival, benefitting the Friends of Sarasota County Parks, will take place at Snook Haven from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., with kayak and canoe rentals beginning at 8:00 a.m. — or bring your own with no cover charge for entrance. The event features live Americana and bluegrass music from Treble Hook's Florida Folk and Medicine Show and Steve Arvey.

The Englewood Firecracker Festival kicks off on Dearborn Street at 10:00 a.m. on Independence Day and concludes with evening fireworks. Enjoy food and drink from local restaurants, peruse more than 60 vendors, and check out the area's largest muscle car show. The event will also feature live music and a kid's area with games and bounce houses.

The Grand Finale: Fourth of July Fireworks

When the sun sets, the sky lights up over the downtown Sarasota waterfront in the annual Fireworks Spectacular Over Sarasota Bay — the grand finale to the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix, celebrating its 34th year in 2018. Viewing for the Fireworks Spectacular Over Sarasota Bay is free to the public anywhere downtown, including Island Park and Bayfront Park — or drop an anchor on the bay.

Enjoy the fireworks over Sarasota Bay from the tropical paradise of the Selby Gardens lawn. Selby's All-American Cookout kicks off at 6:00 p.m. and doesn't wind down until the Fireworks Spectacular grand finale. This ticketed, family-friendly event is $35 for general admission, with kids 12 and under in for $10 and ages 0-3 free. The barbeque will be catered by Michael's on East, with live music from The Hydramatic.

LeBarge Tropical Cruises and the Marina Jack II are both offering special fireworks viewing cruises by reservation. The boozy LeBarge Tropical Cruises are for the 21+ crowd only. Marina Jack II's cruise, also geared toward adults, is a sophisticated fireworks soiree, featuring a beef tenderloin and grouper dinner viewing party on the water. Ashore, all ages are welcome by reservation for the viewing party at Marina Jack Restaurant.

When the weather is good, the Annual Siesta Key Fireworks Display draws an estimated 20,000 - 30,000 spectators to Siesta Key Beach and Crescent Beach, as well as boaters on the Gulf of Mexico and Intracoastal Waterway. A Fourth of July Beach Party, hosted by the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, kicks off on Siesta Key Beach at 6:00 p.m., while the 28th annual fireworks are scheduled to launch at 9:00 p.m..

Near the southern reaches of the county, the annual Venice Fireworks are fired from the South Jetty, and visible along Venice and Nokomis Beaches, as well as the Gulf of Mexico or the Intracoastal Waterway, northeast of the Jetty.

The 14th Annual North Port Freedom Festival kicks off at 6:00 p.m. and concludes with fireworks, winding down around 9:30 p.m., at North Port High School stadium. The event features live music, food and vendor booths, and an activity area for kids with an obstacle course, rock wall, and face painting. Blankets or folding chairs are recommended for the fireworks, but please remember that coolers, pets, personal fireworks, and sparklers are prohibited.

The Englewood Firecracker Festival gets its start early in the day at 10:00 a.m., but doesn't wind down until the fireworks are launched from Blind Pass Beach after dark. Keep an eye out over Manasota Key for the Light Up Lemon Bay fireworks show.

At every fireworks event in Sarasota County, spectators are strongly encouraged against bringing their own fireworks or dogs.