All-afternoon beach activities to culminate in big fireworks show

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Traditionally it’s a scorcher, but each July 4 brings throngs out to the Marco beach during the day and even bigger hordes in the evening to watch the fireworks.

Right now, the long-range forecast for Southwest Florida is a low of 77 and a high of 90 with, of course, scattered thunderstorms. And, more often than not, Mother Nature puts on a light show of her own out in the Southwest Gulf just before the pyrotechnics start from the barge opposite Residents Beach.

Daytime activities this Fourth are organized by Residents Beach staff and volunteers, with music playing all day from noon through the end show.

Noon to 3 p.m. is registration (at the big tent) for the sandcastle contest, and assorted kids’ games begin 1 p.m. The popular hot dog eating contest, notable for its necessary lack of table etiquette, is at 3 p.m., the same time as sand castle judging begins.

Later, at 3:30 p.m. is the entertaining patriotic swimsuit contest for assorted ages, and 4 p.m. sees the announcement of the sandcastle contest winners.

MICA will sell beer and wine at the big tent, and Paradise Grill hot dogs, hamburgers and BBQ at the tent, as well as their normal fare at the pavilion.

The beach area is open to all, but entry through Resident’s Beach (as well as parking) is limited to members. This requires beach ID cards. Overflow parking will be at San Marco Catholic Church, but ID are still required to enter Residents’ Beach.

Suggestions from MICA: Bring cash. No glass permitted on the beach. No personal fireworks allowed.

The fireworks begin as darkness falls around 9 p.m. Costs were borne by big sponsors the City ($26,000) MICA and the Marriott Resort ($5,000 each) as well as $16,000 raised by the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce. This covers the staging amount of $52,000 for the show.

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