Apalachicola’s “Independence Eve” celebration attracts locals and visitors from all over the Forgotten Coast and beyond. Named one of the Top 12 Independence Events in Florida, this family-friendly event is held each year on July 3 at Riverfront Park in downtown Apalachicola from 5-10 p.m.

The celebration includes live music, food trucks, a parade, kids’ activities, a free ice cream social, arts and crafts vendors, a veterans’ tribute, and the singing of the National Anthem-- all leading up to a spectacular fireworks show reflected in the waters of the Apalachicola River.

Our featured entertainment is the Bo Spring Band from Port St. Joe whose Rock, Soul, Country, Funk and Bluegrass influences blend to create their popular sound.

“This year’s set list is focused on upbeat tunes that audiences love. We’re so excited to be playing this event. It’s just so much fun,” said vocalist Lauren Spring.

The band released their debut album in 2017 and has a large following in the area.

Our opening band is the local rock group Southern Flood. They will get the party started with their all-American rock and roll.

Food trucks, both local and from throughout the region, will be offering a delicious selection of American and international favorites. In addition, we are welcoming arts and crafts vendors as a new component of the event.

The Center for History, Culture, and Art will be offering free kids’ art activities in its facility across the street from Riverfront Park from 4–8 p.m. Director Merrill Livingston will have a fun collection of red, white, and blue art materials for kids to create projects they can take home. You can also enjoy perusing the Anna Feil exhibit “Paradise Found” that will be on display in the gallery.

We are honored that U.S. Navy Commander Elizabeth Zingarelli Milliken will give the Veterans’ Tribute speech this year. Her theme centers on the history of veterans from Apalachicola and the concept that there are many ways to serve. This will be followed by a performance of the National Anthem by local youth. Just after the sun sets and darkness settles over the crowd, pyrotechnics will be launched from a barge on the river, lighting up the night sky with the Forgotten Coast’s best fireworks show.

Admission is always free, and lawn chairs and picnic blankets are welcome. For an upscale experience and fantastic seats for the fireworks, you can reserve a table in our VIP section on the docks where you can enjoy complimentary beverages and snacks from a private bar.

This celebration is the winner of a Florida Secretary of State’s Main Street award for Outstanding Special Event. An event of this caliber is only possible because of the financial support of many businesses and residents across the Forgotten Coast community. Our sincere thanks go out to all of our supporters.

For more information please visit www.july3fireworks.com.

Augusta West is executive director of Apalachicola Main Street, a non-profit organization dedicated to downtown economic development in the context of historic preservation. She can be reached at awest@apalachicolamainstreet.org or (850) 274-1321. Main Street’s mailing address is 192 Coach Wagoner Blvd., Apalachicola, FL 32320.