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Marco's Fourth again offers a traditional build-up to the fireworks finale at 9 p.m. with a host of beach activities during the day.

Hosted by the Marco Island Civic Association, the festivities include music from noon, children's games beginning at 1 p.m., a hot-dog eating contest at 3 p.m., a sand-castle-building contest (organized by the Kiwanis) and a patriotic swimsuit contest at about 3:30 p.m.

Paradise Grill will provide its normal fare from the Residents' Beach pavilion, and will also be grilling under a tent on the beach. MICA also will sell beer and wine from a booth.

Ruth McCann, MICA executive director, reiterated that no glass containers should be taken onto the sand, and no personal fireworks are allowed at any time during the day.

Cost of the $42,000 fireworks display, which takes place from a barge in the Gulf, has been borne by the city ($21,000), MICA and the Marriott resort ($5,000 each), and through donations solicited by the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce ($11,000).

To view the display, most people congregate on the sand in front of Residents' Beach, but almost anywhere from Cape Marco to Tigertail Beach provides views of the action.

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