Parades, picnics, fireworks: South Florida celebrates Independence Day

MIAMI (WSVN) - Parades, picnics, fireworks and concerts are some of the events going on in South Florida to celebrate the nation’s 240th birthday.

Monday evening, hundreds gathered at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables to listen to a band concert in anticipation of the night’s fireworks show. “The show is amazing,” said a woman who has seen the display previously.

Jessica Martin came early to make sure they had a good spot for the show. “I like that it’s family-oriented, and it’s a beautiful show and we can come as a family and enjoy,” she said.

Monday morning, the 57th annual Key Biscayne 4th of July Parade kicked off the festivities.

Families in red, white and blue could be seen lining the streets as marching bands, military planes and dance teams made for a spectacular show. “It’s just a joy to be here, to be alive, to live in this country,” said paradegoer Elaine Paddor.

Other attendees echoed Paddor’s sentiments. “Oh, this is fabulous, this is the day we all started,” said Tommy Haght. “This is the day we became our own country, and it allowed us to do all this”

“It’s the freedom that we enjoy in America,” said Yvonne Beckman. “I’m an immigrant, and the Americans liberated us in Europe 60-70 years ago, and I still am very thankful for that.”

A fireworks show is scheduled to take place Monday night in Key Biscayne to end the festivities.

Over in Haulover Beach, a family from Miami took their holiday grilling to the next level. “This is only the beginning,” said Mike Jones as he opened up a tray of barbecue ribs. “We got steak, we got shrimp, we got everything.”

The family cooked for a group of dozens. “Got to have food,” said one woman. “If you don’t have food, it’s not a party — I’m sorry. Have food, family and friends, and then I have my beverages.”

Those who like the sun and the surf made their way to the beach for Independence Day. “We got a good spot, we got the food,” said Sandrika Cook. “We got the adult beverages.”

Beachgoers could also be seen wearing the iconic colors of the nation on the holiday. “It wouldn’t have been Fourth of July without the colors,” said Victoria Brunson, who was wearing red, white and blue.

On Fort Lauderdale Beach, four young men visiting from Ireland wore red, white and blue leis and waved a U.S. flags in a show of all-American patriotism. “This is our last day here, so we’re having a good time and enjoying the Fourth of July the American way, said James Brazil.

Isabella Libreros, who divides her time between Colombia and the U.S., explained why the holiday means so much to her. “I love this country because it’s given my parents and my whole family, not just them but me, like, a lot of opportunities to come here,” she said. “Not everyone has a chance to come up here, you know.”

Tents selling fireworks along Biscayne Boulevard were buzzing with activity. “When I was a kid, I use to watch them, but now I like to do them myself. I’m not sure yet. I’m still shopping,” said customer Sam Perez.

In Miami Gardens, crowds enjoyed bounce houses, food trucks and flag football at Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex.

Over in Margate, many enjoyed the city’s Fourth of July parade, followed by a picnic.

Back in Fort Lauderdale, beachgoers wondered what the Founding Fathers would make of this country’s current state. “Well, they should be happy. Everybody’s on the beach,” a woman said. “I’m happy.”

Irish visitor Tom Cleary shared an equally sunny perspective. “Well, I think they’d look down and say, ‘Those guys know what’s up. They’re doing it right, and keep it going'” he said.

“They would not only be amazed but they would have been down here themselves,” said Daniel Acloque.

There are many events taking place around South Florida this Independence Day. For more information:

Fun 4th of July events in South Florida

Also remember to be safe this holiday. For safety tips:

Fourth of July weekend safety tips

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