Fourth of July festivities will proceed in Key Largo in the way of a newly-organized boat parade and the annual fireworks display on Blackwater Sound. 

Last week, the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce announced the cancellation of its annual parade due to a safety issue of not being able to place barricades used to control the traffic. 

While there will be no parade on the road, a band of boats is getting together for a ride on the water for the July holiday. Key Largo resident David Lazcos knew the Independence Day celebration had to go on, and in light of the recent developments surrounding the annual parade, he proceeded to organize the Fourth of July Upper Florida Keys Boat Parade. 

Lazcos and his wife, Lindsey, are both veterans of the U.S. Navy. He said a boat parade is the best alternative in this time as the local community continues to deal with the pandemic. 

“I wanted to bring the community together while still keeping everybody safe, so we’re going to follow the safety guidelines,” he said. “We’re hoping to get the community out to show we’re grateful for this country and we’re happy to be citizens here and to be able to celebrate this great holiday.”

Starting at 11 a.m. in Barnes Sound, just north of Gilbert’s Resort at MM 107, the procession of boats will move south along the shoreline before reaching the final point, at the waters outside of Bakers Cay, MM 97. Boats will be allowed to carry no more than 10 people. Boats should also stay at least 50 feet apart. All boats should line up at 10:45 a.m. 

Lazcos admits he has no experience in organizing events, but said the boat parade is coming together “pretty good.” Florida Fish & Wildlife and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office are providing support for the event. With his 24-foot Sea Hunt, Lazcos will be lead the procession of boats. Those wanting to get a glimpse of the parade will be able to see it from the bayside shorelines.

“My wife and I take this holiday very seriously and we’re very proud to be Americans,” he said. “It’s very important that we celebrate that.”

More information on the event is on Facebook at Upper Florida Keys 4th of July Boat Parade.

At 10 p.m., fireworks will light the sky on Blackwater Sound in Key Largo, weather permitting. The event is put on thanks to Sundowners, Big Chill, Marriott and Caribbean Club as main sponsors. Sundowners is organizing the event.

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