July 4 festivities
The following events are planned to celebrate the Fourth of July:
• Freedom Festival: Wesley Chapel Fourth of July will be July 3 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel. Includes a bicycle decorating contest, a watermelon eating contest, the Little Miss and Mr. Firecracker Pageant, and fireworks. Admission is free. (813) 994-2242. theshopsatwiregrass.com.
• 'Patriotic Evening' Fourth of July Celebration will be July 3 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Liberty and Wallace Brooks parks, 310 and 286 N Apopka Ave., Inverness. This annual old-fashioned hometown festival will include live music, games, an honor guard, food vendors and a fireworks extravaganza over Lake Henderson. The Velvet Jones Band will perform. Admission is free. (352) 726-2611. Inverness-FL.gov.
• The High Point Community's Fourth of July Parade will be July 4. The lineup starts at 8:30 a.m. near the guard house at the entrance to High Point, off Cortez Boulevard. The parade starts at 9 a.m. and will follow High Point Boulevard to Club House Road, ending at the community center, where there will be a flag-raising ceremony with American Legion Post 186. Monetary awards will be given in several categories. Complimentary refreshments will be served. Free. (352) 596-6006.
• A Machine Gun Shoot will be July 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hernando Sportsman's Club, 16121 Commercial Way, north of Weeki Wachee. Cars, trucks and an assortment of other targets will be destroyed. Machine gun owners 18 and older are welcome to participate; the cost is $20 per shooter. No tracers or incendiary ammunition is allowed. Spectator admission is $2; children 14 and younger will be admitted free. Spectators and shooters should bring their own eye and ear protection, especially for children. Food and soft drinks will be available for purchase. (352) 597-9931. hernandosportsmansclub.com.
• Sparklebration Star-Spangled Spectacular will be July 4 from noon to 10 p.m. at the Pasco County Fairgrounds, 36722 State Road 52, Dade City. Festivities include live music, a food court, watermelon eating, hot dog eating and seed spitting contests, a petting zoo, bounce houses, pony rides, face painting, and a fireworks finale. No coolers, alcohol, pets or personal fireworks are allowed. Bring blankets and chairs for the fireworks show. Admission is $5; free for ages 12 and younger. Parking is $5. (352) 567-6678. sparklebration.com.
• A Patriotic Family Fun Day will be July 5 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, 7200 County Road 603, Bushnell. The festival will include games, contests, live music, hand-cranked ice cream and a pet parade. Admission is free. (352) 793-4781. floridastateparks.org/dadebattlefield.