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Two big Cape Coral events planned in celebration of the Fourth of July

By Staff | Jun 30, 2016

Organized by the Cape Coral Parks and Recreation Department, the 2016 Red, White & BOOM! celebration will take place from 5 to 10 p.m. at the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge. The free event will feature live music by national and local acts, children’s activities and a 9:30 p.m. fireworks show.

Earlier in the day, the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral will host its sixth annual Freedom 5K, which kicks off at 7:30 a.m. at the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge. There will also be a Fun Run.

Because of the events, the Cape Coral Bridge and Cape Coral Parkway – from Del Prado Boulevard east to the bridge, will be closed to traffic at 3 a.m. Monday. Motorists must use alternative routes.

“It’s the nation’s birthday,” Todd King, with the Parks and Recreation Department, said. “It’s a time for the community to come together, to be American, to be connected to friends, family and neighbors.”

Last year, an estimated 45,000 to 50,000 people turned out for the celebration.

“It was the largest attendance we’re ever had,” he said, noting that it fell on a Saturday.

This year, organizers are expecting 35,000 to 40,000 people to attend.

“We don’t see it being a whole lot less than that,” King said.

The Fort Myers band Soapy Tuna will start off the party at 5 p.m., followed by bigger artists.

“We shifted gears last year from going from local talent to national talent,” he said.

At 8 p.m., the headliner Michael Ray will take the stage.

“He’s the next up-and-coming country superstar,” King said, pointing out that Ray has had two or three No. 1 hits. “The music is more than a sidebar (to the celebration). It’s one of the key points now.”

County powerhouse Love and Theft, from Nashville, will perform at 6:15 p.m.

“They’ve been around a little bit longer than Michael Ray,” he said.

For those who want an up-close musical experience, the Cat Country Party Pit surrounds the catwalk. The tickets cost $15 in advance or $20 day of and come with a gift bag and other various goodies.

Following the performances, thousands of fireworks will fill the night sky.

“Over 5,000 shells will shoot in this show,” King said.

“We consider it one of the largest shows, if not the largest show, in Southwest Florida,” he added.

The nearly 30-minute display is all synchronized to music.

“We feel like that musical component is really a unique thing to our show,” King said.

Those unable to attend can watch the fireworks on CapeTV, Channel 98 on Comcast. They can also listen along and enjoy the synchronized music on Cat Country 107.1 or via the iHeartRadio app.

During the event, the Kids Patriot Park will feature attractions such as the Big Baller, Melt Down and IRush, a zip line for both adults and children, face painting and various inflatable rides, like slides.

“A lot of folks like to come down early. It gives the kids a chance for some activities,” he said.

The park is conveniently located close to the stage.

“So mom and dad can enjoy the music, while the youngsters can enjoy the ride elements,” King said.

Each attraction requires tickets, which are $1 each and can be purchased on site.

Pets, fireworks and outside alcohol are not permitted at the event.

“We allow chairs and coolers,” he said. “Sometimes people bring their umbrellas.”

“We don’t allow weapons or any other kinds of illegal items,” King added.

For more information or to purchase advance Party Pit tickets, visit the website online at: www.capeboom.com. Tickets are also available at City Hall, at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.

On-site registration for the chamber’s Freedom 5K will begin at 6 a.m.

“This event is a great event to celebrate the Fourth of July,” Lyz Crouthamel, the event coordinator with the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral, said.

Event proceeds will benefit the Invest in America’s Veterans Foundation and Special Operations Communicators Association, which works for the U.S. Armed Forces’ Joint Communications Unit.

“That we can give back to organizations that impact the community,” she said.

In 2015, $1,000 was raised for the Wounded Warrior Project.

“Last year, we had over 700 runners,” Crouthamel said.

“Our numbers are already up for this year,” she added. “We’re expecting over 800 runners.”

The registration fee is $30 for adults and $25 for youths through Sunday. On Monday, the day of registration fee is $40 for both adults and youths. Military, past and present, are a flat $20 fee.

The 5K will cross the bridge into Fort Myers, then turn around and head back.

“There is no minimum age for the 5K,” Crouthamel said.

Trophies will be handed out to the top male and female runners in the following categories: overall, military, masters 40 and over, grandmasters 50 and over, and senior grandmasters 60 and over. Medals will be awarded to the first, second and third place, male and female finishers in several age groups.

Following the completion of the 5K, the Fun Run will take place.

For children under the age of 12, the 100-yard dash costs $10 each and includes a T-shirt.

“We had about 100 (participants) last year,” she said. “Everyone gets a ribbon.”

A post-race after-party will feature snacks and refreshments for participants, including free beer.

Crouthamel noted that participants also receive free onsite massages.

“It’s a great way to support our community, while supporting wellness as well,” she said.

There is something for the whole family.

“Everyone can enjoy different aspects of the event,” Crouthamel said.

To register in advance for the 5K/Fun Run, visit online at: freedom5kcc.com or drop by packet pickup, which will be held today from 2 to 6 p.m. at Priority Business Solutions, at 4814 Vincennes St.

For more information, visit online or call the chamber at 239-549-6900.