4th of July South Florida festivities end with fireworks display - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

4th of July South Florida festivities end with fireworks displays

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MIAMI (WSVN) -- Fourth of July celebrations across South Florida culminated with lively fireworks displays, bringing together locals and out-of-town visitors to celebrate America's independence.

In Key Biscayne, the celebration kicked off with a parade along Crandon Boulevard Friday morning. The 55th annual Fourth of July parade for Key Biscayne made its way past Key Colony and beyond. "The excitement of the music and the noise and the bands," said Roy Meavers.

Although it was pretty hot throughout the day, there were a lot of fun things going on, including floats, bands and patriotic spirit of all kinds. Kids from middle school to high school performed in bands and twirled batons. A lot of people were throwing candy and simply loving life.

Attendees said they love coming to celebrate in Key Biscayne every year. "We've come every year since my son has been 2 years old, and he's now 10 years old," said Sandra Speier, a mother who attended the parade. "This is an old-time parade family tradition. It's an awesome family Fourth of July celebration."

"I like the parade; it's fun," said a young parade-goer. "Plus, I get a lot of candy."

Another parade-goer said, "Gotta love the Fourth of July parade. It's all about Key Biscayne."

A big picnic took place for later in the afternoon.

While some people opted to spend their day by the water, others chose to stick to last-minute fireworks shopping and family gatherings at home. "It's definitely a lot better to do it on your own than just watching somebody else do it," said Roy Depasquale. "The enjoyment is there when you're lighting it yourself."

"Done it all. Been out on the ocean watching it, and it's a lot more fun when you do it on your own," said Christian Solazzo.

In Downtown Miami, many people were focused on the World Cup match pitting Brazil against Colombia, rather than the holiday festivities. "First it's Fourth of July; it's a beautiful country. Second is our nation, is right now about to make history with Brazil, one of the biggest teams ever," said Ricardo, a Colombian fan.

Those not watching the game were enjoying the live music on Bayfront Park, and vendors prepared food for revelers attending the fireworks show.

"You know, I embrace everything about being an American," said reveler Eddie Abbad. "The fact that I get to do whatever I want, the fact that I can get every opportunity that I can possibly chase after."

Several English tourists in Downtown Miami were surprised by the way the people they met were willing to welcome them so they could enjoy the festivities with them. "People are willing to share the holiday with us," said Emily Stennett-London.

Decked in an Uncle Sam hat and draped in Old Glory, the revelers with English accents blended right into Miami's Independence Day melting pot. Asked whether she's aware the holiday celebrates the county's independence from Great Britain, English visitor Sarah Falder replied, "Correct, we do, we do. We're celebrating it, too. We didn't want you guys."

In order to prepare for the show, crews packed the fireworks on barges and even prepared themselves for any possible chances of rain by wrapping them in plastic. "We're getting everything waterproofed and protecting it from the environment so that, even if we did get some tropical showers, that the show will just go off as planned," said Gary Avins, President of Fire Power Displays Unlimited.

The fireworks show at Bayfront Park lit up the skies in Downtown Miami around 9 p.m.

The iconic sight of the all-American celebration also erupted over Fort Lauderdale Beach, where earlier in the day, families were enjoying music and the sun while crews prepared for the spectacular display. "The colors, just the whole event, the atmosphere here," said a woman, clearly satisfied with the Broward County event.

"Oh, I love it," echoed another man on Fort Lauderdale Beach. "This is the highlight of the year."

Families huddled together as they watched the fireworks, celebrating being happy and being free.

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