Crowds gather for 4th of July celebrations across South Florida

MIAMI (WSVN) - Thousands rang in the Fourth of July at Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami with the largest fireworks show in South Florida, Tuesday night.

“We came to this country 26 years ago with my father as immigrants, and we totally love every liberty we’re afforded here in this country,” said one woman.

“Feeling very honored to be in this country,” said one man.

The party started early at Bayfront Park — the sun was out, and there was plenty of delicious food for everyone, including the family and kiddos. A kid zone was also cued up with bounce houses.

“I like that it celebrates America’s birthday,” said Autumn Wallace.

Earlier Tuesday, people gathered for the 58th annual Key Biscayne Fourth of July Parade on Crandon Boulevard.

A lot of folks kept in mind what the Fourth of July is all about. “Well, my father’s a veteran, so I always appreciate the independence fact of it,” said Anthony Wallace, “but you know, coming from a family standpoint, I just love bringing us all together, having a good time and celebrating why we’re here.”

Chris Cuellar, who attended the parade, said his wife was pregnant for last year’s July 4 celebration. “My wife was eight-months pregnant, and this year, we got this little guy. First Fourth of July, I was in the Navy, so it’s awesome.”

Over on Haulover Beach, families grilled to perfection, but it wasn’t all fun. One woman in the Bayfront Park area was injured after a coconut fell from a tree and hit her head. She was treated by fire rescue and is expected to be OK.

Robert Loredo, who was lounging on a beach in Fort Lauderdale used this day to also remember our troops. “We’re proud of our troops who supported us the whole way, he said. “They’re still actively fighting oversees, so we’re enjoying our freedoms now because of the fact that they’re fighting 24/7.”

A celebration in Miramar brought a familiar patriotic song and sentiment.

“It gives me an opportunity to reflect back on my father and his legacy and all of his sacrifice, but it also gives me the opportunity as the mayor to celebrate with our residents of which many of them are foreign-born,” said Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam.

In Broward, crowds watched a parade in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea that was all about the red, white and blue.

Kids waved flags and wore patriotic colors as they listened to music.

7News crews asked the Statue of Liberty and Uncle Sam stilt performers if they thought the founding fathers would be happy of how our country progressed.

“I think they would be very proud of where we are today,” Uncle Sam said.

“I think they would be very happy for all the improvements we made, all those years and centuries,” the Statue of Liberty said.

When asked what July 4 meant to Diane DeForge, who attended the parade, she said, “Our independence of our country and our men and women who we’re very grateful for serving our country and freedom.”

“It means to live in a country where you can express yourself,” said another attendee, Ediany Carbon. “Where you can savor freedom, where you can vote for people you want to represent you in Congress.”

Brian Kowal said the Lauderdale-By-The-Sea celebration is a family-favorite. “Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is the best,” he said. “We come every year, and this year it’s a little more special because I got my daughter here all the way from Madison [Wisconsin].”

While this is the first time Kowal’s daughter celebrated the Fourth of July in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, residents said they wouldn’t want to celebrate America’s 241st birthday anywhere else.

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