By Larry Blustein
What do you think about first when the word summer is mentioned?
Barbecue, beaches, family outings? If you are a local resident, all those would signal things that would certainly occupy time during the summer. But what about the Fourth of July? This has turned into a day of the year for Americans to go above and beyond in showing their beaming pride.
Whether you're looking forward to Independence Day as an excuse to paint your face and feel like a kid again, run around hauling the American flag and patriotic gear, or simply as a day to appreciate our country with loved ones, there is a place for everyone.
As local residents have been hit with a dose of summer heat already, there is always that Fourth of July weekend to look forward to. It is indeed the time of year when you say goodbye to those cooler temperatures and plan things around the heat of the summer day.
Aventura residents Catherine and William Welsh are still learning this area. They spent last year, their first in Florida, at Hollywood Beach. Fighting crowds and not getting home until after 11 taught them that they were not alone, trying to find the premium beach spots to spend the day and watch the show at night.
"This year, we will go to the beach early and then leave before the crowds start to arrive," Catherine Welsh said. "Living in Illinois most of my life, the beach is such a lure, but as we found out, the traffic and long lines go along with such great weather."
There is no doubt that south Florida is certainly the hotspot for the entire weekend - which starts on July 3rd and ends sometime Sunday night.
Anthony Walker and his family have their Saturday already planned. A little fishing early at the Dania Beach Pier, some swimming in the ocean after and then home to fire up the grill with some neighbors.
"We will go to the store on Wednesday or Thursday, get plenty of burgers, hot dogs and chicken," Walker said. "My neighbors here in Hollywood will kind of take care of the rest. That is how we always spend the holiday. Too crazy to go out - and we have a great neighborhood with people of all ages."
Walker and the entire neighborhood will watch local fireworks that will usher in the holiday in style.
EVERY CITY HAS SOMETHING
With the City of Hallandale Beach hosting a Happy Birthday America celebration last week - which was truly impressive - other local cities and venues will start celebrating this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
• Mardi Gras Casino (831 North Federal Highway - Hallandale Beach, FL 33009
(954) 924-3200 or 1-877-55-SLOTS
firstname.lastname@example.org) in Hallandale Beach gets the holiday weekend started with a Fireworks & Festivities on Friday, July 3rd.
6 p.m. - 70s Dance Contest - $1,000 Top Prize on the Veranda.
8 p.m. - Star Spangled Banner Singing Contest - $1,000 Top Prize in the Grandstand.
• Beach Ball Toss - Over $400 in Bonus Play.
9 p.m. - Spectacular Fireworks Show.
• Gulfstream Park will play host to a July 4th celebration with a free grand illuminations show, entertainment, giveaways and a food truck rally.
The July 4th celebration, which takes place from 2-10 p.m., Saturday, July 4 will be part of a big weekend at Gulfstream that includes Sunday's $1.175 million Summit of Speed, a program of nine stakes racing, including four graded stakes and two Breeders' Cup Win and You're In races.
The Summit of Speed will also mark the first appearance in South Florida by jockey Victor Espinoza, jockey of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
Festivities on July 4 begin at 2 p.m. with some of South Florida's top food trucks setting up near the south valet. Beginning at 5 p.m., face painters, air brush tattoo artists, balloon artists and magicians will begin strolling Champions Plaza along with coloring stations. DJ Ozzy will begin playing music near the walking ring and four satellite bars. Ten Palms will offer a BBQ buffet from 6-9 p.m. for $19.95 for adults and $9.99 for children 12 and under. Gulfstream will offer the Speed Demon - a special cocktail - all weekend for $6 in an 18 ounce collectable tumbler.
The Grand Illumination Show, presented by Grucci, will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m. followed by a two minute fireworks finale.
Saturday's first race post time for live racing will be 12:45 p.m.
Following the July 4th celebration, Gulfstream will play host Sunday, July 5 to the Summit of Speed, another exciting day of Thoroughbred racing with nine stakes races and some of the country's top sprinters. First race post time Sunday is 12:30 p.m. There will also be a second day of food trucks in the south valet area.
Those purchasing seats on Sunday in the grandstand, Silks or Ten Palms will receive a Summit of Speed tank top.
Sunday will also feature the inaugural GirlsGotGame Handicapping Challenge with a seminar and brunch overlooking beautiful Gulfstream and cash and prizes to the top 20 women. Registration to GirlsGotGame is limited to the first 100 women. For more information contact Nancy Berry at 954.457.6284.
The live band Influence will entertain in the Fountain Club overlooking the walking ring after Sunday's last race.
The City of Aventura proudly announces its 20th annual Independence Day fireworks celebration on Saturday, July 4, 2015 at 9 PM. The patriotic aerial display can be viewed from any location along Country Club Drives.
Rain date for the fireworks will be Sunday, July 5, 2015 at 9 PM.
The City of Aventura’s Community Services Department coordinates the celebration and is dedicated to provide Aventura residents with quality service, parks, facilities, events, programs, camps, and activities.
For more information, visit cityofaventura.com or contact the Community Services Department at 305-466-8930.
SEMINOLE HARD ROCK
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's Fourth of July celebration begins at 6 p.m. with fireworks at 9 p.m. Entertainment and various activities will be set up, from rock climbing to face painting and music. And for the FIFA fans, you can even watch the game at the Hard Rock's watch party at 4 p.m.
• In Celebration of the Fourth of July The Italian American Civic League of Broward County will hold their indoor Fourth Of July Celebration at their Banquet center at, 700 South Dixie Highway, Hollywood, Florida 33020. The celebration starts at Noon. Enjoy Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Pulled Pork, with all the sides salads, fruit and dessert. There will be games for the children and a Bocce Competition for adults on the Clubs new outdoor Bocce Courts. The cost is $5.00 per person for members, $10.00 per person for non-members and $3.00 for children. Reservations are required with payment. You may bring you own Wine or drinks, Coffee & Tea are provided, soft drinks can be purchased. Plenty of free parking is available. For Reservations call 954-444-9883.