Fourth fun extends to surrounding areas


Seven women begin to march in Micanopy's 4th of July parade.

Katie Tschopp / Special to the Sun
Published: Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 11:32 a.m.

Beyond Gainesville, the Fourth of July fun continues throughout the weekend with parades, live music and, of course, fireworks. Here's a preview of the All-American events taking place throughout North Central Florida.

Waldo

Kicking off the Fourth of July weekend on Friday and Saturday is the revamped VetFest Musicfest at the Dixieland Music Park in Waldo where 21 bands including Gainesville's Progressive Madness, John McMillan, Flashback and Local Traffic will perform a musical styles.

The patriotic emphasis will center on veterans with a special Veterans Ceremony by American Legion Post 16 set at 3 p.m. Saturday. About 40 vendors will be hand with games, food and other items and children's activities will include a bounce house and thrill ride.

"We wanted a location where there was more room and we could make it family oriented," says Jim Mitzel, founder of the festival and president of the Hampton's Veterans Memorial Fund, which has staged the festival as a fundraiser for the past three years in other locations.

The progressive, rock-blues sound of Progressive Madness will be augmented by the addition of sax player Nick Savage, long known for performing with such acts as Bo Diddley, B.B. King and Fleetwood Mac, among others. Bands performing from around the state will include Jacksonville classic rockers Big Engine, Southern rockers Boss Hawg from Parrish (near Bradenton) and the Christian rock band Cross-Fire Warriors from Starke.

Hours are 2-11:30 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Saturday at the Dixieland Music Park, 17500 N.E. U.S. Highway 301, Waldo. Admission is free. Proceeds from vendor sales will benefit the Hampton's Veterans Memorial Fund.

Micanopy

The Independence Day Parade in Micanopy returns at 11 a.m. Saturday as a highlight of the town's annual celebration, which also will feature a fish fry at <0x000A>11 a.m. to benefit the Micanopy Museum. A $10 dinner will include such trimmings as hushpuppies, coleslaw and baked beans. A LifeSouth blood drive is planned from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and festivities will move to Micanopy's ballpark where music, food and games are planned from 5 to 8:30 p.m., followed by fireworks at dusk.

Alachua

On Sunday, Alachua will host a Fourth of July Celebration with events planned at the Hal Brady Recreation Complex, where from noon to 10 p.m., live music, dancing, bingo contests, petting zoo and a Kidz Corner with a water slides, splash park, skatepark onsite, bounce houses and a rock-climbing wall will be featured.

Follwing a barbecue rib-eating contest that starts at 6:15 p.m., a fireworks show billed as "The Largest Small Town Fireworks Display in America," typically enjoyed by about 15,000 organizers say, is expected to start at 9:30 p.m. The Hal Brady Recreation Complex is at 14300 N.W. 146 Terrace, Alachua.

Cedar Key

The 7th annual CLAMerica event on Sunday in Cedar Key will celebrate Independence Day and the town's clam industry where such morsels as steamed clams, baked clams, clam chowder and clam fritters will be available along with fish and shrimp delicacies, hamburgers, hot dogs, watermelon and other taste-tempters.

Planned for the City Park and Beach on Second Street from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the event also will feature an assortment of games and contests including clam bag races and a clam harvest hunt along with clam farming exhibits, a kayak race, golf cart parade. Fireworks will top the day's event at dusk.

Contact Bill Dean at 374-5039 or at bill.dean@gvillesun.com.

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