Several events are planned in Cape Coral for those looking to celebrate the Fourth of July.
The Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral will host the RE/MAX Realty Team-City of Cape Coral Red, White & Boom event from 4-10 p.m. at the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge. The 7th Annual Great American Picnic at Cape Harbour is also an option, as well as the July 4th Celebration and Concert.
The Great American Picnic runs from noon to 3:30 p.m., with the proceeds to benefit the Adopt-A-Troop Foundation. The concert, organized by the Invest in America's Veterans Foundation, takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Southwest Florida Military Museum and Library, at 4820 Leonard St.
Bob Knickman, special events director of the chamber, called Red, White & Boom a tradition.
"It's a chance for Cape Coral to kind of show themselves off a little bit," he said.
"It's the most important event of the year," Knickman added. "Everybody comes out."
If You Go:
* Cape Coral Bridge and Cape Coral Parkway from Del Prado to the bridge closing at 6 a.m.
* CenturyLink-Prism TV Freedom 5K Race - 7:30 a.m.
* Cat Country 107.1 Entertainment Stage- Blackwater 4 p.m.;
Grayson Rogers 5:45 p.m.;
Rachael Farley 7:45 p.m.
* FOS Furniture American Tribute - 9:15 p.m. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m..
* Free Kids Area sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Cape Coral.
* Parking and Trolley Service sponsored by Entech Computers - Free parking and trolley pick up at Club Square, Iguana Mia, Sweetbay and Big John's. Additional parking at the El Rey Jesus Church located at 1629 SE 47th St. for $10 per car, no charge for handicap parking.
* No coolers, pets, fireworks and outside alcohol.
If You Go:
What: Great American Picnic
Where: The Marina at Cape Harbour, 5703 Cape Harbour Drive. By sea,
at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee
ICW Marker #92; Latitude: 26 32.73N; Longitude: 82 00.46W
When: Noon- 3:30 p.m.July 4th.
An estimated 20,000 to 25,000 people attend the fireworks extravaganza annually.
"Every year it's been the same. It'll be elbow to elbow," he said. "It's a lot."
Country singer Rachael Farley is the headliner this year and will take the stage at 7:45 p.m. Local favorite Blackwater is scheduled to perform at 4 p.m., followed by Grayson Rogers at 5:45 p.m.
Farley, who is releasing an album over the summer, was selected by Cat Country 107.1.
"She's been touring with some big heavy hitters of country," Knickman said.
At 9:15 p.m., FOS Furniture will present a special American tribute to the local men and women serving in the war zones. The tribute will be topped off with the fireworks show at 9:30 p.m.
"The fireworks will go off," he said. "There's no rain date. This is it."
Admission is free.
Red, White & Boom features a free children's area, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Cape Coral, food and drink vendors and a VIP area. VIP tickets cost $100 and include food from six participating restaurants, premiere stage and fireworks viewing, an air-conditioned tent and executive restrooms.
Free parking is available in the Club Square, Iguana Mia, Sweetbay and Big John's parking lots.
There is a free trolley service from each of the designated parking areas.
"After the rain, usually the big crowds start coming in," Knickman said, adding that people should arrive early if they want to guarantee a spot close to the stage.
No outside coolers, pets, fireworks or alcohol.
"We've got a great group of volunteers that have been working on this for months now," he said. "We expect to be able to handle anything that pops up."
"Just come on down, enjoy yourself and have a great time with us," Knickman added.
At Red, White & Boom, Send It Sweetly will be selling $5 bags of flavored popcorn, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Tabarrini Children's Music Outreach Foundation. Find a colored piece of popcorn and win. Prizes include an iPad mini, cash, two-night hotel stay, gift baskets and certificates.
The Cape Coral Bridge will close at 6 a.m. for the 3rd Annual CenturyLink-Prism TV Freedom 5K, which kicks off at 7:30 a.m. Runners can register day of starting at 6:30 a.m. at the foot of the bridge.
The Great American Picnic will begin at noon at the Cape Harbour Marina. Event manager Glenda Swager explained that the event was started to offer the public a chance to celebrate Independence Day and to help out a worthwhile charity that puts together boxes of items for military serving overseas.
"It triggered us to work an event around that," she said of the Adopt-A-Troop Foundation.
Attendees can sign a banner on site, which will later be shipped to a military unit.
"To show our appreciation," Swager said. "Those guys are still over there fighting on behalf of our freedom and we want to support them."
The event includes a Cape Coral VFW Post 8463 Color Guard presentation and the singing of the national anthem, along with entertainment by a local deejay and the Dixie Roadhouse Dance Team. There is a zumba demonstration planned, as well as the "Best Patriotic Pet Contest" set for 1 p.m.
Registration for the pet contest opens at 11:30 a.m., with the winners announced at 2:15 p.m.
From 2-3 p.m., there will be a "Bubble Gum Contest," "Hula Hoop Contest" and "Apple Pie Baking Contest." Swager noted that the participants in the pie contest can sign up in advance or that day.
"You can even walk it in the day of the event," she said. "It's going to be fun."
Prizes for the contests range from medals, to gift baskets and gift certificates from merchants.
"It's all free," Swager said. "We just want people to come down, enjoy and give from their hearts."
She estimated that approximately 500 to 700 people attend each year.
The Cape Harbour restaurants will offer several menu choices, and typical picnic food like hot dogs and hamburgers will also be available. There will be some Farmer's Market vendors on hand, as well.
"You wait until evening until you see the fireworks, but this helps fill up your day," Swager said.
Another way to mark the afternoon is at the July 4th Celebration and Concert, hosted by the Invest in America's Veterans Foundation. President and founder Ralph Santillo explained that it is the third year that the organization has coordinated the event, which was previously held at the Eco Park pavilion.
"We draw a pretty nice crowd," he said, adding that it is an "older" crowd.
"It's the folks that don't like to go to Red, White & Boom at night," Santillo said.
An estimated 150 people showed up for last year's event.
"We're hoping we have a larger turnout," he said. "It's air conditioned; it's a little more comfortable."
The Dixie Dirt Bank and the Cultural Park Theatre will both perform patriotic tunes.
"This is the first year we've had a live band coming in," Santillo said.
A picnic lunch will be available, including hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, beans and dessert.
Tea, lemonade and coffee will be provided.
"We're asking for a $5 donation for the food," he said. "But the concert is absolutely free."
At about noon, a rededication ceremony is planned for an 1867 37-star flag.
"That flag was introduced on July 4 on 1867, announcing Nebraska as the 37th state," Santillo said.
He called the item a fairly new addition to the museum.
"It was brought in by a local family," Santillo said. "The flag has been in that family since that time."
For more information about Red, White & Boom, visit: www.capecoralchamber.com/.
For details about the Great American Picnic, visit online: www.capeharbour.com.
For information about the July 4th Celebration and Concert, visit: www.veterans-foundation.org/.