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Here’s the skinny on Fourth of July happenings in and around St. Pete

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Wondering what to do this Saturday for the Fourth of July? Fear not, there any number of festivities throughout St. Pete to celebrate our nation’s Independence.

Fireworks will go off from Spa Beach in downtown St. Pete weather-permitting sometime between twighlight – about 8:30 p.m. – and 10 p.m. Typically St. Pete fireworks start lighting up the sky around 9 p.m.

The show can be seen well from most downtown parks including Vinoy, Albert Whitted, Demens Landing, North and South Straub Park and the Spa Beach Parks.

Raymond and the Tampa Bay Rays street team will be at North Straub Park from 6 p.m.- 9 p.m. to greet fans.

Parking is available in multiple garages throughout downtown for a fee.

Prior to the main event there are several events earlier in the day. Starting at 10 a.m. the Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood Association will host a children’s parade on First Street North and 30 Avenue near Coffee Pot Park.

The band Distinguished Men of Brass will play at Sundial at 1 p.m.

From 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Rowdies fans can pre-game at a tailgate party in the Al Lang Stadium parking lot leading up to the 6 p.m. match between the Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Atlanta Silverbacks.

St. Pete residents and visitors can also cool down at one of the eight city pools where the entry fee will be reduced to just $1 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m..

Other events are happening outside of St. Pete as well. St. Pete Beach fireworks will fly at dark from Upham Beach. Upham Beach entrances will be closed to the public starting at 6 p.m.

The City of St. Pete Beach notes that all regular parking ordinances will be in place.

Gulfport has an early morning Kid’s Fishing Derby at the sea wall by the recreation center (west side of waterfront). Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. with the derby from 8 a.m.-11 a.m.

There will also be a Family Sand Sculpture contest from 10 a.m.- noon. This year’s theme is “Patriotic.” Participants must bring their own tools. Registration for that contest begins at 9:45 a.m.

Activities for youngsters will be set up on Gulfport Beach from noon until 5 p.m., including water slides, balloon tying and concessions.

Gulfport fireworks begin at 9 p.m.

Treasure Island fireworks also go off at 9 p.m. on the beach behind Gulf Front Park on 10400 Gulf Boulevard. Public parking for that show is available at Allied Specialty Insurance, Treasure Island Community Center Park and at 104 Avenue and Gulf Boulevard for $15.

Less expensive metered parking is available on a limited basis at Gulf Front Park, the community center on 104 Avenue and Gulf Boulevard and in St. Pete Municipal Parking at 112 Avenue and Gulf Boulevard.

Locally many fireworks are illegal and people caught using them can have the fireworks confiscated and face fines. Typically, in St. Pete any type of “mortar” that leaves the ground is not permitted.

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Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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