Channelside, downtown sight of holiday festivities

Fireworks explode over Channelside during last year’s July 4th celebration.
Fireworks explode over Channelside during last year’s July 4th celebration.
Published Jun. 28, 2017

CHANNEL DISTRICT — The City of Tampa's largest Independence Day celebration, Light Up Tampa Bay, returns to Channelside Plaza on Tuesday with fireworks, live music, entertainment, face painting and food trucks.

Tampa-based rockers, Southern Train will headline the free event which takes place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., along with entertainment by Randy Johnson, DJ Xplicid and DJ Chis Beastly.

The Tampa Bay Jr. Lightning Girls Team, Thunderbug, Tampa Bay Rays street team, 102.5 FM The Bone and 97X will also make special appearances.

Head to the second floor of the facility beginning at 6 p.m. to receive one of 2,500 wristbands which will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis for access to the waterfront plaza located at 615 Channelside Drive.

In support of the event, The TECO Line Streetcar System will be offering free fares from 7 p.m. to midnight.

Fireworks will go off at 9 p.m.

Light Up Tampa Bay will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay.

Meanwhile, nearby Yacht Starship will celebrate the fourth of July with a VIP fireworks cruise from 6-9:30 p.m.

Attendees will board a cruise featuring an upscale American buffet, open bar, DJ dancing and a front row view of the Channelside fireworks. It will depart from 603 Channelside Drive.

For more information, call (813) 223-7999 or visit

And in downtown Tampa at Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park, the Tampa Red, White and Blue Festival will offer a fashion show, live music, activities and views of the fireworks launching from Channelside.

Children can get the American flag painted on their cheek and meet and greet with Uncle Sam on stilts, as well as Surly the Squirrel from The Nut Job 2.

The live concert features special performances by blues artist Bobby G Summers, jazz band Caleb Joseph & Friends, R&B singer Angela Birdsong and country artist Aubrey Wollett.

Cultural exhibitions include Made In America Crafts and a food court of vendors offering a variation of Southern favorites from local chefs including chicken n' waffles, baby back ribs and more.

This year, the festivities also include a watermelon eating contest, which will take place prior to the Patriotic Fashion Show.

In addition to the show, there will be a best-dressed competition, where attendees too can show off their style in red, white and blue for chances to win prizes.

The event will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. and admission is free.

For more information, visit