1. Archive

Tampa's 'Boom by the Bay' fireworks show expected to draw at least 100,000 people

Attendees watch a fireworks show during a 2017 Fourth of July celebration in the Channelside area in Tampa. [Times (2017)]
Attendees watch a fireworks show during a 2017 Fourth of July celebration in the Channelside area in Tampa. [Times (2017)]
Published Jul. 1, 2019

TAMPA — Anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 people are expected to turn out for "Boom by the Bay,'' Mayor Jane Castor's inaugural Fourth of July celebration.

"It's just kind of like weddings and funerals. It all depends on the weather," Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan said at a Monday news conference about the event.

The Independence Day celebration will include four fireworks displays, all starting at 9 p.m. along 2.5 miles of the Hillsborough River from Armature Works to Sparkman Wharf.

But fireworks won't be the only attraction.

Starting at 6 p.m., there will be food trucks and live entertainment at Water Works Park, Riverfront Park, the Tampa Convention Center and Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park. Sparkman Wharf will host a water ski show. Armature Works will have an American Car show starting at 10 a.m. and a hot dog eating contest in the evening.

All six locations are designated viewing spots for the 20-minute fireworks show.

Between 8 and 9:30 p.m., boats are prohibited in the area between the North Boulevard Bridge and the Cass Street Bridge. The city recommends that boaters view the fireworks either near the Tampa Convention Center or the Ybor Turning Basin.

Dugan encouraged participants to text BOOM to 888-777 to receive alerts on weather, parking and changes in the fireworks schedule.
Several garages will be open for paid parking and public transportation will be available. HART, the TECO Line streetcar and the Downtowner service will be free. Users can also unlock a free ride on an electric scooter with a promotion code.

Officials are encouraging spectators to make sure to drink enough water and wear sunscreen. Dugan also suggested that parents take photos of their children in case they become separated.

This is the first year the city of Tampa has held its own fireworks celebration. The event is a signature one for Castor, who has said she wants to "kick off my time in office with a big bang."

The last two year's fireworks shows left viewers disappointed after ending early due to logistical errors.

"Mayor Castor has already declared there will be no thunderstorms that day, so we'll see what kind of pull she has," Dugan said.

Contact Amanda Zhou at Follow @amondozhou.


  1. Hillsborough County Tax Collector Doug Belden (left) and Public Defender for the 13th Judicial Circuit Julianne Holt received the Tampa Tiger Bay Club's fourth annual Lifetime Achievement Award on Monday. [ANASTASIA DAWSON  |  Times]
    Public Defender Julianne Holt and Tax Collector Doug Belden were awarded the Tiger Bay Club of Tampa’s fourth annual Lifetime Achievement Award Monday.
  2. Police are seen near the location where a dog was shot by police after attacking a police horse along the Gasparilla parade route Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020 in Tampa. (Courtesy of Laura Josephson) [Photo courtesy of Laura Josephson]
    The dog broke free from a tether and charged the horses, deputies said. It died from its injuries outside the 345 Bayshore Condominiums tower.
  3. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    Police say a motorcycle and another vehicle collided on W. Boy Scout Boulevard Saturday afternoon. At least one person was killed.
  4. This poster was seen January 21 inside a Brandon pet shop owned by All About Puppies, one of two pet retail businesses in Hillsborough County that were granted an exception from county laws prohibiting commercial pet stores from selling animals that came from breeders. [ANASTASIA DAWSON  |  Times]
    The proposed ordinance would ban all commercial pet retailers and impose strict regulations on breeders operating within the county.
  5. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    All residents were safely evacuated from the Villa Sonoma Condominiums at International Plaza after a fire broke out Saturday morning.
  6. County commissioners agreed Wednesday to pursue a local ordinance establishing a needle exchange program in Hillsborough County. [C.M. GUERRERO  |  Miami Herald]
    If approved, used syringes could be swapped for free, sterile ones
  7. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    Police say the attacker, Lonnie Lavine, lives in a detached shed behind the victim’s home.
  8. The Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave., moved to a smaller venue on the property in 2017 after a brief closure due to the museum's financial distress. [Times]
    Staff say a move to downtown’s Water Street is still “up in the air," but efforts are also afoot to keep the museum in the heart of the new Uptown Innovation District near the University of South...
  9. Off-duty detention Deputy Leighton Ricketts, 32, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol early Saturday morning. A four-year veteran of the Sheriff’s office, Ricketts was placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the results of an internal affairs investigation. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office] [ANASTASIA DAWSON  |  HCSO]
    Detention Deputy Leighton Ricketts, a four-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, was placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the results of an internal affairs investigation.
  10. A Brinks security guard and a Good Samaritan who came to his aid were shot during a robbery attempt at GTE Financial credit union in Brandon on Friday. [Tony Marrero, Times Staff]
    The search continued into the evening Saturday for the shooter, who is believed to be a serial bank robber.