Those looking to celebrate Independence Day can start early and stay late in the Cape this year.
The big event, of course, is Red White and BOOM!, the annual block party and fireworks display organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral. This year's title sponsor is RE/MAX Realty Team.
The annual celebration is replete with food, drink, live entertainment, children's activities and plenty of boom - the largest fireworks display in southwest Florida, which draws thousands to the foot of the Cape Coral bridge in downtown Cape Coral every year.
Red White & BOOM! 2010 is more than the return of a long-standing favorite, though - a national recording group will headline the live entertainment this year, and a family oriented food-and-drink fund raiser has been added to the mix. Trailer Choir, discovered by country music singer Toby Keith, will cap the live entertainment roster Sunday night.
Local band "Retro Light" will open at 5 p.m., "The Mixx" will follow at 6 p.m. and Trailer Choir will take the stage at 8 p.m.
Organizers nixed the $1 admission tried last year and admission to BOOM! is free. There is one new nuance that does have a fee attached - attendees looking to picnic in style can "rent" a lot in the "RE/MAX Realty Team Village" near the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge, a prime fireworks viewing spot.
"Lot rental" for a 10 by 10 foot space is $100 while a "double lot" goes for $170. Complimentary food and drinks will be provided and all money raised will go to the Children's Miracle Network.
Meanwhile, there will be plenty of returning favorites.
In addition to an estimated 100 vendors offering a variety of block party fare, returning to this year's BOOM! will be a twist on last year's "American Tribute" to honor service men and women. A "Heroes and Leaders American Tribute" to herald veterans is scheduled for right before the fireworks show, which is set for around 9:30 p.m.
Festivities begin at 4 p.m. Sunday along Cape Coral Parkway from Del Prado Boulevard to the Cape Coral Bridge, continuing until about 10 p.m.
Red White & BOOM! is one of our favorite events but expect a crowd as most of Cape Coral agrees it's a great way to spend the Fourth - and this year fireworks in Fort Myers are a wash.
If you want to start your July 4th holiday earlier in the day Sunday, Cape Harbour, at the end of Chiquita Boulevard, will again host the Great American Picnic.
Activities will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with the focus again this year centering around aiding our troops. Picnic patrons will be able to "Adopt-A-Troop," by donating money to send packages to troops over seas.
Other activities will include the return of an annual hit - the patriotic pet costume contest - as well as a banana split eating contest, an apple pie baking contest, activities for children including free patriotic "tattoos", card-making and crafts, as well as lots of food and drink choices.
Both events offer a great way to celebrate the most American of holidays with neighbors and friends.
Hope to see you there.
- Breeze editorial