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ST. PETERSBURG OFFERS STARS, STRIPES AND SOCCER THIS JULY FOURTH

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (July 2, 2015) – St. Petersburg celebrates Fourth of July on Saturday with a bang, offering residents and visitors everything from parades and picnics to swimming and soccer before a spectacular city-sponsored fireworks display lights up the skies along the downtown waterfront.  St. Petersburg’s variety of affordable July fourth festivities helped land the Sunshine City in the top 10 of a recent survey by WalletHub, ahead of New York and Miami.

The St. Petersburg Waterfront July 4th Fireworks display gets underway at 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 4.  Fireworks could begin as early as 8:30 or as late as 10 p.m., depending on weather, and will be visible from Bayshore Dr. with prime viewing locations from Vinoy, North and South Straub, Spa Beach and Albert Whitted Parks.  Spectators are encouraged to arrive early for a bite downtown before meeting Raymond and the Rays Street team from 6 to 9 p.m. in North Straub Park.  Blankets and lawn chairs are permitted; however, alcohol and personal fireworks should be left at home. The fireworks display is sponsored by the HCA of West Florida Pinellas County Hospitals. Visit www.stpeteparksrec.org/events.html for details.

Parking for Saturday’s fireworks will be available at both city-owned garages, Sundial, 117 Second St. N., and South Core, 101 First Ave. S., for $10 all day, while parking in the Beach Drive and Pelican lots will cost $5 all day. Disabled parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis in the North Shore ball field lot, 901 North Shore Dr., as well as along the east side of Beach Dr. For those using pedal power, bicycle racks will be available at North Shore pool; on Bayshore, north of the Museum of Fine Arts; and on First Ave. S. near Al Lang Stadium. Message boards will direct traffic before and after the fireworks display.

Downtown residents and visitors should expect heavy traffic congestion from Coffee Pot Blvd. to Fifth Ave. S. between 8 and 10 p.m. and should anticipate road closures and delays, including Bayshore Dr. NE between Second and Fifth Aves. NE. To avoid congestion, motorists are encouraged to stay east of Eighth Street, while downtown residents are asked to consider travel plans to or from their residences during peak event times. Everyone is encouraged to allow extra time to get to their destination and to exercise caution if driving or walking downtown during the event.

Other star-spangled Saturday activities include the Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood (HONNA) 4th of July Children’s Parade. Festively-decorated pets, clowns, trikes, wagons, and the Fife & Drum Corps get the holiday underway, alongside a city of St. Petersburg Fire Rescue truck. The parade steps off from Coffee Pot Park, First Street NE and 30th Ave., at 10 a.m. Parking is available along 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st Avenues, but is restricted from the park lot. www.honna.org

Kids and their families can celebrate the stars and stripes with patriotic games, crafts and activities at Great Explorations, 1825 Fourth St. N., from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Other festive activities include a Red, White and Blue relay, finger painting, and flag-making. Active and retired military and first responders receive free admission with ID on Saturday.

Cool off while celebrating your independence with $1 Splash Day at any city pool on Saturday. Admission is just $1 per person from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Sunday, July 5, pools will begin offering reduced entry prices of $2 for ages 3-3-12 and $3 for ages 13 and up. www.stpeteparksrec.org/pools.html Or, if you’re in the mood for music, don’t miss a free patriotic concert by d’Mo Brass – the Distinguished Men of Brass performing live at 1 p.m. at Sundial St. Pete.  

Rowdies fans get their party started with a free 2-6 p.m. Independence Day tailgate sponsored by Budweiser at Al Lang Stadium before the team takes to the pitch against Atlanta. Following the match, fans may enjoy a free post-game concert by The Superstars featuring Ronnie Dee and prime viewing for the city's fireworks display. Tickets are available at www.rowdiessoccer.com.

Or get the best air-conditioned seat in the house for a spectacular view of the city’s fireworks extravaganza, along with a traditional July 4th picnic and live music from the Applebutter Express Band when the Museum of Fine Arts presents the 8th Annual Fireworks Buffet. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. Limited seating is available; for reservations, call 727-822-1032. Visit www.fine-arts.org for information. For other holiday weekend activities in St. Petersburg, visit www.stpete.org/events

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