You have the day off work for July 4, but what's there to do smack-dab in the middle of the week? Plenty, including fireworks, parties and parades. We've got an even longer list at tampabay.com/things-to-do. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer
Here are some of the major firework shows, starting about 9 tonight.
Tampa's Channelside will be giving out 3,000 wristbands beginning at 7 p.m. for access for viewing fireworks from the wharf area (but entertainment starts at 1 p.m.).
The St. Petersburg Pier will be the base of operations for downtown St. Petersburg's festivities beginning at noon with live music, face painting, a one-man circus performance and more. The fireworks can be seen from most of the city's waterfront parks.
Gulfport has the day packed with family friendly events, starting with a kids fishing derby at 8 a.m., followed by a sand sculpting contest and a 6 p.m. parade down Beach Boulevard before the night's fireworks.
St. Pete Beach will have a 30-minute display set from a barge floating in the gulf, best viewed from the city's beaches to the south of Dolphin Village Shopping Center, 4700 Gulf Blvd.
Treasure Island warns that parking on the beach for fireworks is off this year because there is still standing water, so grab spots at the community center at 106th Avenue and Gulf Boulevard.
Largo Central Park will have live music and activities starting at 6 p.m. before fireworks. Limited $5 parking.
Coachman Park in Clearwater, with the Wilsons and the Mostly Pops Orchestra starting at 4 p.m., followed by fireworks.
Safety Harbor will have children's activities followed by fireworks at the City Marina, 110 Veterans Memorial Lane.
Brandon Blast will have a parade at 10 a.m. at Lumsden Road and Parsons Avenue with American Idol contestant Jeremy Rosado of Valrico as the grand marshal. In the evening, head to the Westfield Brandon mall for fireworks and other activities starting at 5 p.m.
Dunedin Blue Jays game at 3:15 p.m. is followed by live music by the Greg Billings Band, children's activities and a fireworks finale. Free.
Temple Terrace kicks off with a parade at 10 a.m. at White Way Drive and Gillette Avenue. Music and festivities start at 7 p.m. on the Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club golf course, and fireworks will be launched at 9 p.m.
Pasco County Fairgrounds in Dade City will have carnival games, contests, sky dive drop-in, petting zoo and a fireworks finale. Gates open at 4 p.m. $5, 12 and younger free.
Deals and parties
• Pop-rock quintet Cobra Starship will join popsters Outasight and Sammy Adams for the bikini bash at Shephard's on Clearwater Beach. It's $10 and the party starts at noon at 601 S Gulfview Blvd.
• The History Center celebrates Independence Day by offering free admission and extended hours today. Stick around in the museum's atrium for an air-conditioned view of Tampa's fireworks at 801 Old Water St., Tampa.
• A July 4 tradition pits the Tampa Bay Rowdies against their fiercest rival, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (and a good view of the city of St. Petersburg's fireworks display after the game). A $10 ticket includes a pre-game meet and greet with the players and on-field viewing for the fireworks. It's 6:30 p.m. at Progress Energy Park/Al Lang Field, 180 Second Ave. SE, St. Petersburg. (813) 287-1539.
• The Lutz July 4 Celebration is one of the biggest community celebrations, kicking things off with a 10 a.m. parade followed by a festival and a huge food truck rally at 18333 Exciting Idlewild Blvd., Lutz.
• Legoland in Winter Haven will be handing out special 3D glasses today that turn ordinary fireworks into millions of exploding bricks.