Apalachicola Main Street is busy getting ready for sixth annual Independence Eve Celebration on Monday, July 3. This event attracts thousands of visitors, but just as importantly, it’s an event for local families and residents. This is a time when everyone comes downtown to celebrate our nation’s independence together as a community.
Every year we hear people say that no one does an Independence celebration like Apalachicola. And this year is truly going to be bigger and better than ever. Here’s the scoop.
5 p.m.: Everything starts at Riverside Park! Hamburgers, hotdogs, fries and beverages will be available. Our opening band will be the popular local act Southern Flood playing classic rock ‘n roll from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Free kids activities will be available at the Project Impact tent including face painting, art, games and prizes from 5 to 8 p.m.
6:30 p.m.: Our featured entertainer Johnny Hayes & the Loveseats kicks off. Lead singer Johnny Hayes is the celebrated NBC TV “The Voice” performer who wowed millions nationwide with his performance of “Statesboro Blues,” one of the Allman Brothers’ greatest hits, and his rendition of Otis Redding’s hit “Try a Little Tenderness.”
Meanwhile, the 13th annual Red, White and Blue Parade starts making its way from Lafayette Park. This is the ultimate hometown parade because anyone from kids on bikes to dogs and their people in golf carts can participate. The parade will travel down Avenue B, go under the bridge at Battery Park and proceed down Water Street to Riverfront Park. The parade is organized by Franklin’s Promise Coalition, which will provide streamers and balloons beforehand for everyone to decorate, along with the crew of the Conservation Corps of the Forgotten Coast.
This year, retired Navy Lt. Comdr. Pal Rivers will be honored as the parade grand marshal. Rivers, 93, served in World War II as a Navy pilot to search and remove enemy submarines and later during the Korean War as assistant chief of staff for naval intelligence. He is proud to have been astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first flight instructor at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola. After returning to Apalachicola, he received his teaching degree from Florida State, taught at Apalachicola High School for 22 years, and later served as clerk of courts for another nine years. If you have questions about joining in the parade, please contact Joe Taylor with Franklin’s Promise Coalition at 850-323-0176.
7 p.m.: Free Ice Cream Social - the perfect cool treat for a warm summer evening.
7:30 p.m.: Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson, Sr. will read excerpts of the Declaration of Independence.
7:45 p.m.: Johnny Hayes & the Loveseats crank back up!
8:45 p.m.: Retired Maj. Gen. James Donald of St. George Island will give our veterans tribute.
9 p.m.: Carol Barfield will perform the National Anthem.
9:05 p.m.: Fireworks! This will be our biggest, best fireworks display ever over the waters of the Apalachicola River. A patriotic soundtrack will make the fireworks show even more powerful.
We appreciate the Apalachicola Police Department and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office for making an extra proactive effort this year to assist with traffic control. Remember that when the downtown parking spots fill up, try the public parking lot off north Market Street across from the Veterans Memorial Plaza, or the Battery Park area under the bridge.
As always admission is free, and lawn chairs and picnic blankets are welcome. For more information on the event, photos, video, list of sponsors, and more, please visit www.july3fireworks.com.
This award-winning event’s success is due to strong support from individuals, businesses, and other organizations. Special thanks to: the City of Apalachicola, H’COLA, Franklin’s Promise Coalition, Buddy Ward Seafood, Tommy Ward & 13 Mile Seafood, Piggly Wiggly, Project Impact, Cates Electric, Bill Grimes, Bay Media, the Crew of the Conservation Corps of the Forgotten Coast, The Apalachicola Police Department, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, and Harry Arnold.
Augusta West is executive director of Apalachicola Main Street, a non-profit organization dedicated to downtown economic development and historic preservation. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (850) 274-1321. Main Street’s mailing address is 1 Avenue E, Apalachicola, FL 32320