a man waving from a boat in a parade
A procession of floats and a walker raising the American flag proceed past spectators on U.S. 1 in Key Largo during the 2023 Fourth of July parade. DOUG FINGER/Keys Weekly

Bayside and oceanside skies will light up across the Upper Keys for this year’s Fourth of July celebration next Thursday. Throughout the day and into the weekend, a wide array of festivities will be open to the public, from beach parties to patriotic parades, in celebration of our nation’s 248th year of independence.

Parade in Key Largo

Beginning at 10 a.m., Key Largo will hold its 48th annual Independence Day parade. With a route running from Anthony’s Clothing Store to Laguna Avenue near Key Largo Community Park, the event offers a morning of patriotic colors and decorated floats to kick off the July Fourth festivities. The parade is presented by Key West International Airport; Key Largo School principal Darren Pais will be the parade marshal. The theme is “Freedom” and floats will be awarded prizes in several categories. Signup for volunteers and float entrants is available at the Key Largo Chamber website.

a group of people walking down a street holding american flags
A U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary member waves during the 2023 Fourth of July parade in Key Largo.

Fireworks at Rowell’s Park

In the evening, Key Largo’s festivities will continue at Rowell’s Waterfront Park, with live music, activities and games, and food and beverage tents. The Rowell’s celebration starts at 5 p.m., with its annual Blackwater Sound fireworks show at 9:15. Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets. Tickets are also available for a “VIP Tent,” including food and drinks, for adults 21 and older with a $50 admission. Free parking with a shuttle service is available at Key Largo School.

Festivities at Founders Park 

The Upper Keys Rotary Club and the Village of Islamorada will co-host a celebration from 6 to 10 p.m. at Founders Park. The event will include food and drink vendors, live music, and face painting, as well as a Puppy Parade beginning at 7:30 p.m., as well as fireworks. Attendance is free with a $10 donation for parking, and attendees are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets. 

Hog Heaven celebration

Hog Heaven Sport Bar and Grill presents its 20th annual Fourth of July party and fireworks display on Saturday, July 6. The event will feature music by Jason Aldean tribute band “Wide Open” and views of fireworks over the Atlantic Ocean.

Zack Woltanski
Zack Woltanski is a Coral Shores grad and aspiring novelist. After three years of high school and a gap year in Germany, he will be studying at Brown University, with a potential major in english or philosophy.