The country’s 241st Fourth of July arrives next week and the communities of Gulf County as well as Mexico Beach are gearing up for a celebration.

The three cities of Port St Joe, Wewahitchka, and Mexico Beach will hold dueling fireworks shows on the evening of the Fourth, a Tuesday.

Wewahitchka

The city of Wewahitchka will get the holiday celebration going early with their annual Independence Festival and Street Dance which will kick off at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 1 at Lake Alice Park.

There will be all day live entertainment provided by Mr. Billy Lipford, Cypress Trio, Wood Thieves, A Little Bit of Everything, Midnite Mafia, and Easy Company.

Throughout the day, visitors will be able to find many different food choices, as well as arts and crafts.

Demonstrations will be made by Chad Gainey, the Chainsaw Sculptor, whose work will be auctioned off at the end of the day.

The festival will also play host to Mr. Murp the Blacksmith, and live tye dye presentations.

Kids will be able to play away in a free kid’s zone while their parents enter in door prizes and raffles to benefit the Search and Rescue Squad.

The event is co-sponsored by Wewahitchka Search and Rescue and the City of Wewahitchka.

Folks will have to wait until July 4 to see rockets red glare over Lake Alice, with the fireworks show kicking off when the sun goes down, about 8:30 p.m. CT.

Mexico Beach

Mexico Beach will host a full day of activities to celebrate the holiday.

Kicking off at 7 a.m. CT, the city will host the Sandy Shoes 5K, starting from Under the Palms Park on 7th Street.

Next, the young ones can enjoy a morning full of fishing. The fishing event is open to youth competitors between the ages of 2 and 14 ready to reel in a record breaker and will begin at 9:30 a.m. CT on the canal docks at the end of Canal Parkway.

The main show starts at 8:30 p.m. CT, with fireworks being shot off of City Pier that will be visible from almost anywhere in Mexico Beach.

Port St. Joe

Fireworks will fly over St. Joseph Bay at 10 p.m. ET on July 4.

The pyrotechnics will be launched from the Port St. Joe Marina and will be able to be seen from most points in downtown Port St. Joe.

There are a host of other activities in Port St. Joe during the holiday weekend (See page A2).