• Boat races: Marathon Super Boat Grand Prix, with events scheduled Friday through Sunday, July 3-5. Race day is Sunday, when powerful high-speed boats are to show their muscle on a course parallel to the Marathon shoreline just east of the world-famous Seven Mile Bridge. (For a full schedule see page 10-11.)
• Golf tournament: Florida Keys Country Club golf tournament at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 4. Contest follows a 2-person best ball, scramble format.
• Parade: Parade begins at Marathon High School to Sombrero Beach Road beginning at 10 a.m.
• Picnic & Fireworks: Sombrero Beach in Marathon hosts a day-long picnic from 11 a.m. until the last firework explodes. Food and drinks for sale, kids’ crafts, music and one of the largest and longest firework displays. Best viewing is on the beach, or just in front on an anchored boat.

Big Pine Key
• Picnic & fireworks: Big Pine Community Park (31009 Atlantis Road) open at 5 p.m. includes live music by Haywire, games, food and beverages for both kids and adults. Fireworks begin after dark. Admission is free — no coolers, pets or personal fireworks.

Key West
• Festival: Key Lime Festival from Thursday to Saturday, July 2-4 at various locations in Key West. Scheduled highlights: Key lime pie-eating contest, talent show and samplings of Keys-distilled rum. Visit
• Run: 5k run/walk begins at 7:30 a.m. at the corner of White St. and Atlantic Blvd. $25. At 2:30 p.m., public picnic with food for sale and live music begins. Fireworks start after dark.
• Picnic: 28th annual July 4 benefit for Hospice of the Florida Keys and the Visiting Nurse Association from 5 to 9 p.m. at Casa Marina Resort & Beach Club, 1500 Reynolds St. Picnic, music, silent auction, children’s games, fireworks. General admission is $10 and buffet tickets are $25 for adults/$10 for children. VIP tickets also available.
• Fireworks: Show starts after dark on the south side of the island. Best viewing is from Casa Marina Resort, Higgs Beach or White Street Pier.

• Dinner & Fireworks: Founders Park, MM 87, hosts an evening celebration from 6 to 9:30 p.m. that includes food, drinks for kids, teens, adults and even dogs. Fireworks begin after dark. $10 for non-residents.

Key Largo
• Parade & picnic: The 40th annual 4th of July Parade “Red, White and True” starts at 10 a.m. at MM 98.2 and ends at MM 100, followed by a picnic at Key Largo Community Park with free hotdogs and sodas and award presentations for best floats.
• Fireworks: The fireworks take place after dark along the bayside of Key Largo, near MM 104, known as Black Water Sound. The best bayside seating is at Sundowners and Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill restaurants, Caribbean Club and Marriott Key Largo Bay Resort. Reservations are suggested.

For Marathon Firework Display:

In Marathon, families celebrate Independence Day all day long.

It begins with a patriotic parade that starts at 10:30 a.m. at Marathon High School. It meanders down Sombrero Beach Road where it ends at the beach. Vintage cars, floats featuring youth groups, and bicyclists are welcome to join in.

Once everyone has arrived, the opening ceremony commences. The Color Guard from American Legion Post 154 will perform, the Pledge will be spoken, expect remarks from Marathon Mayor Chris Bull and other dignitaries and then sit back and enjoy the music program by Island Harmony.

Once the parade arrives, the party starts at the beach. It’s co-hosted by the City of Marathon and the Rotary Club of Marathon. Rotary will sell food (burgers, dogs, popcorn and snowcones) and drinks (beer, wine, soda and water) to the crowds. The City of Marathon Parks and Recreation Department has craft tables set up for the youngest set, plus they stage a variety of games and contests throughout the day.

Plus, there’s live entertainment.

Dan Sullivan plays from noon to 2 p.m., followed by Chloe Dolandis and Christian Davis from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., capping with an ensemble effort by John Bartus, Adrienne and Jade Storm from 5 to 8 p.m.

By then, most of Marathon will have staked out their spots on the grass or beach. (Fireworks are visible from both places, although the reflection over the dark waters isn’t to be missed.) Middle Keys residents often boast that Marathon’s fireworks spectacular, funded by the City of Marathon and overseen by chief pyrotechnician Randy Mearns, is the biggest, longest and loudest in all of the Keys. The show begins just after dark.

Marathon residents attending the fireworks show at Sombrero Beach should back into the parking spots to alleviate traffic congestion at the end of the night.


For VNA Picnic in Key West:

Celebrate holiday by supporting hospice care

4th of July Picnic is non-profit’s biggest fundraiser

“It is the biggest firework show in the Florida Keys with the best entertainment and food,” said Michelle Chennault of VNA/Hospice of the Florida Keys about the organization’s big fundraiser at Casa Marina on Saturday, July 4.

Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice of the Florida Keys (VNA/Hospice) celebrates Independence Day as they host its largest fundraiser of the year, The 4th of July Picnic, at the Casa Marina. Now in its 31st year, the picnic is a Key West tradition for generations of locals and visitors alike.

“It is a community event and all the proceeds go to charity hospice care from Key West all the way to Ocean Reef,” Chennault said.

The party begins when doors open at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 4. A meal — grilled burgers, hot dogs and sides — is included in the $25 (adults) and $10 (children ages 4-12) ticket prices. Entry without a meal is $10. Best seats on the beach admission is $150 per ticket and features reserved beachfront seats, exclusive dinner buffet with personal wait staff, two drink tickets, and a cash bar. Free watermelon, popcorn and Pepsi products are offered to all those with a general admission ticket.

Local radio personality, Bill Hoebee will emcee the festivities that include live music, games, family fun zone and the largest silent auction in Key West. At 9 p.m., guests will have the best view on the beach to enjoy the stunning fireworks display, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Key West. New to the event this year is a giant Twister game for both kids and adults.

Advance tickets can be purchased at or by calling 305-320-0676. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door on the day of the event.

The funds raised at the picnic are used by VNA/Hospice to continue its mission of “Caring for the Keys.”

VNA/Hospice is an integrated agency that has been providing skilled home health, private duty care and hospice services to the residents and visitors of Monroe County since 1984. VNA/Hospice offers a full range of compassionate, effective, life-enhancing health and supportive services that enable an individual to remain in his or her home. For more information regarding VNA/Hospice or how you can volunteer, please call 305-294-8812 or visit


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